Life is not about the number of years you live, but about making such an impact that people will remember you long after you’re gone.
British boy, nine-year-old Bailey Cooper may have only a few days or few weeks to live, but his infectious smile and loving nature will be remembered long after he has gone. The boy is dying of cancer and has surpassed the prediction of doctors by surviving longer than they expected to meet and name his new born sister.
He first took ill in 2016, when what seemed to be a viral infection turned out to be non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare form of cancer which develops in the network of vessels and glands in the body. It was too late as he was already in Stage 3 and it has been an overwhelming 15 months for Bailey and his family as they went through a lot of ups and downs with his health.
The cancer had shown signs of remission, but while on a family vacation, the doctors called with heartbreaking news to tell them that Bailey’s cancer had returned. Bailey’s dad, Lee said, “The doctors threw the book at it and told us even if he survived it, the long-term effects will last for the rest of his life.”
It was clear that the writing was on the wall and Bailey did not have much time left, so Bailey’s family and doctors did all they could to save his life, including even a stem cell transplant. Bailey was amazing through the entire process of treatment and made it clear to all that he wouldn’t go till he meet his baby sister.
Nobody expected Bailey to survive till then, but when his mom, Rachel, delivered a baby girl Bailey was still hanging in there. Lee said, “Doctors said he was going to go before Millie was born,” and added, “He didn’t. He fought and on the way to the hospital, he said, ‘We should call her Millie.’”
He added that he was determined to meet his baby sister and it was at the end of November that Millie was born and he hugged her like an older brother would do, he even changed her, washed her and sang to her. It was his only wish to meet his baby sis and after he did, it seemed Bailey was ready to go home.
It was becoming clear to everyone that Bailey’s time was up and one day when his grandmother told him she wished she could trade places with him, he told her, “That is really selfish, Nan. You have grandchildren to take care of.” It just shows how caring Bailey was even till the point of death.
His parents say that he even made plans for his funeral, and wanted all the guests to wear superhero costumes to it, and even though they were aware that Bailey would not make it till Christmas, Bailey’s parents, Rachel and Lee, asked him to make a list of the gifts he wanted. Rachel said, “He knew he was not going to be here for Christmas, but we tried to get him to put together a Christmas list. He said he didn’t want to, but we encouraged him to.”
His parents were amazed to see that all the gifts Bailey requested for Christmas, were more suited for his little brother Riley because he knew he was not going to be around till then.
For Bailey the biggest gift was meeting Millie, and the day before he died, Bailey held Millie in his arms with the biggest smile, which he wore even during the rough cancer treatments. Lee says, “Bailey smiled through it all, he pulled funny faces and made people laugh, even though he was in so much pain.”
The day finally came when on Christmas Eve, with his family around him, Bailey went home to be with the Lord. Rachel said, “By 11:45 a.m. on Christmas Eve, we were by his bedside. We knew it was not going to be long. We told him, ‘It’s time to go, Bailey. Stop,'” Rachel explained. “The moment we said ‘stop,’ he took his last breath and had just the one tear come out of his eye. It was peaceful.”
People came in the hundreds dressed up in superhero costumes to honor Bailey Cooper at his funeral. He spent just 9 years on Earth, but made a huge impact on the world around him.
We pray for the grieving family, that God would give them the calm assurance that they need at this hard time, but we also know that Bailey will be completely healed and restored in the Father’s arms in Heaven.