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Cooper Proscia
07/22/01 - 05/03/08
4 years old at diagnosis
University of California of San Francisco, John Muir, Walnut Creek, and Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center

Cooper was having a lot of difficulties walking, constipation, an unexplained bump on his face next to his eye and he was just not acting like himself.  Parents know their kids, so we made many trips to the doctor.  Each time, there seemed to be a plausible explanation for the complaints.  Finally, after a CT scan was ordered we were given the devastating diagnosis of cancer, but no determination of what kind of cancer.  After several days in the hospital running tests and biopsies, etc. we were told it was Neuroblastoma.  We were also told we that we had an uphill battle ahead of us. Our doctors told us some very grim statistics and that this diagnosis was bad, but we really had no idea what we were in for.  We had faith that our child could beat this devil as long as we did all that was asked.  Cooper spent 2 1/2 years fighting Neuroblastoma. He had more rounds of chemo than we choose to count, MIBG treatment (internal radiation), stem cell transplant, several surgeries to remove tumor including brain surgery after he relapsed and they found tumor in his central nervous system. He had several different specialized antibody treatments aimed at fighting back the relentless tumor growth and external radiation to many different parts of his body. He was asked to take way too many oral meds. He had to endure an endless number of pokes (needle sticks), blood transfusions and scans. He was never disease-free.

Cooper lived life to the fullest every single day – no matter what was going on or how he felt.  He must have known that he had to pack a lifetime into a few short years and made every day special.  He could find joy in a hospital filled day.  He was a sports fanatic!!!  He especially loved baseball even at a very early age.  His favorite thing to do was to dress in uniforms.  He has baseball uniforms from approximately 20 different teams.  He also loved watching Sharks hockey.  We were very fortunate to be able to take Cooper to many baseball and hockey games and he was provided many special opportunities to meet some sports heroes.  Cooper met many SF Giants players, but none bigger than Barry Bonds. Barry Bonds even came to visit Cooper in the hospital after his brain surgery.  He also met many NY Mets players and hung out with many of the hockey players in the Shark’s dressing room.  He got to be on a basketball team, soccer team and two t-ball teams.  His Make-A-Wish trip was to NY to see the “House that Ruth Built”.  He also was able to go to school – Kindergarten.  This little boy made such a positive impression on everyone he met.  Everyone around the hospitals knew Cooper – hard to miss a cute little boy sporting a full uniform!  It’s amazing how such a little boy could bring a community together.  It’s wonderful to see and experience the love and support from so many, even those that we didn’t know.

Cooper had such an amazing smile – you could even see him smile from the back.

We miss him more than words can express, but are happy that he doesn’t have to be in pain, take pokes or mouth medicine anymore.