NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Belmont baseball took the morning off from fall training last week to help unload thousands of pumpkins for the Cooper Trooper Pumpkin Patch. The Bruins served to help assemble the foundation's annual event in Franklin, Tennessee.
Volunteering at the Cooper Trooper Pumpkin Patch has become an annual event for the Belmont baseball squad. The foundation upports pediatric cancer and patients' families. The namesake of the pumpkin patch, Cooper Cook, tells an inspiring story. In September of 2008, at only eight weeks old, Cooper was diagnosed with Infantile Fibrosarcoma, which originates in the parotid gland (head and neck area). The odds of this type of cancer diagnosis are one in one million, and specifically in this area of the body, they are one in five million. The Cook family was sent to Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt to have an ultrasound performed. Still without a verdict in hand, the radiologist requested an MRI to be done the next morning. The Cooks were sent to an ENT surgeon to review the MRI, which revealed a tumor. After all young Cooper had to endure, he was tabbed with the nickname "Cooper the Trooper".
The Cooper Trooper Foundation, founded by Rod and Missy Cook in 2009, aims to advance pediatric cancer research and to support the wellbeing of the siblings of those affected that are often overlooked during this traumatic time for families. The Cooper Trooper Pumpkin Patch is the organization's main fundraiser and has raised over $100,000. The foundation provides free Courage Kits to all well siblings when a child is diagnosed. The kit includes many resources that ensure that the child feels special too in what is always a very tough time for everyone involved. The foundation additionally supports an Endowment Fund for pediatric cancer at Monroe Carrel Junior Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt. For more information visit http://www.coopertrooper.org/.