Fundraiser “Bro’s on Blades Battling for Bo” underway
By CURTIS J. PHILLIPS, Connect Weekly
Family and friends will join with residents from throughout the Wood Buffalo region to watch Anzac and Fort McMurray firefighters’ battle in a fundraising hockey game for Bo Cooper on December 19, 2015.
Recently, Bo “The Unbreakable” Cooper – a local mixed martial arts fighter and member of the Fort McMurray Fire Department – had beaten Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia, which he was diagnosed with in July 2010.
In order to return to the ring, he had to go under intensive chemo therapy and bone marrows, lumbar puncture, radiation to the brain and spine, a mediastinal pneumothorax and an emergency surgery for appendicitis, while at the Cross Cancer Institute in Edmonton.
Cooper, a graduate of Fort McMurray Composite High School, joined the Fort McMurray Fire Department at 19 years-of-age. He was unbreakable, but not untouchable. Shortly after beating Neil “The Steel” Dotty at Unified MMA 19 in Edmonton in May 2014, he was told by doctors that the leukemia had returned. Last August, he had a bone marrow transplant and the match was said to be a 10-out-of-10. During this same time frame, he married Irish Crawford.
On a trip to Ram’s Falls located in the Canadian Rockies foothills, Cooper, unbeknownst to Irish, tied an engagement ring to the end of his fishing line.
With the sound of the waterfalls only a few feet away, Cooper asked Crawford to reel in the line and when she saw the ring she said: ‘”Am I dreaming?”’
Unfortunately, that dream has turned into a nightmare, as the leukemia returned to Cooper in October 2015 for a third time.
Currently undergoing treatment with an experimental drug called Blinatumomab, doctors have now suggested that 26 year-old Bo Cooper travel to the United States to undergo treatment with an experimental Chimeric Antigen Receptor (CAR) T-cell therapy.
“This is the only option available,” said his mother Carla Campbell Cooper. ”I never thought it would come back again. But three times… it is horrific.”
The cost for this will be an estimated and staggering $500,000 in US funds ($668,000 Canadian).
“This is the only option available,” said his mother Carla Campbell Cooper. ”I never thought it would come back again. But three times… it is horrific. Bo is in a fair bit of pain, but he is young and strong and that is why we have reached out and contacted the United States for treatment and the doctor in Calgary is on board with us to do this.”
Friends of the family have started a GoFundMe page, which $59,640 funds have been raised, as of Connect’s press time.
The December 19th hockey game fundraiser, tagged as “Bro’s on Blades Battling for Bo,” will have the Anzac Fire Hall challenging the Fort McMurray Fire Hall (Cooper’s father Rob is a captain at the Fort McMurray Fire Hall). The game starts at 6:30 p.m. at Anzac Recreation Centre with a silent auction and dance to follow.
Event organizers shared their thanks in advance to the volunteers, Anzac One Rec, and to the Fort McMurray Fire Department for accepting the Anzac Fire Departments Hockey Challenge.
Of the community assistance, Cooper’s mother replied: “It is more than anything they will ever know.”
In a recent video posted by Cooper, lying in a hospital bed with his wife beside him, he said: “I’d like to thank everybody for all the support they have given me and the strength to keep fighting, just so I can spend another day with my wife because that is all I really need.”
Irish added, “Thank you for giving us…” and with both her, and Cooper, in unison concluded, “Hope.”
For more event details on the hockey game fundraiser, go to “Bro’s on Blades Battling For Bo” on Facebook. Contact Melissa Campbell for donations and silent auction items by phone at 780-531-2282 via text. Any further inquiries regarding the event, can contact Rheimer Reid at 705-828-4111 via text.
– Connect Weekly –