The year 2016……A very bad year for Bailey Cooper. First signs of illness showed its giant’s head that year. Doctors thought just a viral infection…… Nothing to worry…….as it happens with any other child! But it was soon diagnosed as something much worse — non-Hodgkin lymphoma, a rare form of dangerous cancer which affects the network of vessels and glands in the body.
This disease had fixed its strong roots in Bailey, by the time investigations were completed. Stage 3 of the dangerous disease had already set in on Bailey. Then what? Pain & nothing but pain for Bailey & tension & nothing but tension for Bailey’s family for more than 15 months. They had to endure a rollercoaster of ups and downs.
At a point of time, everything appeared rosy when Bailey’s cancer went into remission. The family was happy & to celebrate it they went on a vacation. But their happiness was short-lived. The family got a call from Bailey’s doctors. It was a devastating news! — Bailey’s cancer had hit him again.
Bailey’s family and doctors tried every possible treatment under the sky, to save this little child with a broad innocent grin & an enigmatic smile. The doctors tried even a stem cell transplant. What was amazing was to see Bailey’s enigmatic innocent smile which he had retained on his face through every round of his treatment.
Unfortunately the sickness proved extremely powerful. The doctors announced helplessly, “A few more days or perhaps one or two weeks……that’s all left for Bailey to live” But the doctors had forgotten about this kid’s strong determination to meet his newest sibling. Bailey’s mom, Rachel, was expecting a baby.
Bailey said to himself, “Say I will & then stick to it. That’s the only way to do it.”
Bailey knew that determination can be a positive & powerful motivator. He confidently told his parents that he wasn’t going anywhere until he meets his baby sister. Well the doctors had no hope. They didn’t think Bailey would make it & survive till his sister’s birth.
But Bailey did make it. Rachel, Bailey’s mom delivered her baby girl in November, and Bailey was very much there with a grin on his face & He even got to name his little sister. So strong was his determination!
“Doctors said he was going to go before Millie was born,” dad Lee said. “He didn’t. He fought and on the way to the hospital, he said, ‘We should call her Millie.’”
“We didn’t think he would last that long, but he was determined to meet Millie. It got to the end of November and Millie was born. He hugged her and did everything an older brother would do – change her, wash her, sing to her.”
Bailey’s only wish was to meet this baby sister of his. They knew his days were numbered. He wouldn’t be there when Christmas arrived. But Bailey lived to get his Christmas wish fulfilled.
Now Bailey knew it was time to go home to Heaven. He had to leave this earth.
“The moment after he met her, he began to taper off quickly. He was slipping away,” his mom said with pain in her eyes. But he didn’t face his death with fear. Bailey perhaps said to himself, “Why should I fear death? If I am, death is not. If death is, I am not.”
A thoughtfulness displayed by Bailey that was beyond his 9 years of age. His concern for everyone except himself deserves a lot of appreciation.
When his grand mom said tearfully that she wished she could take his place, he told her, “That is really selfish, Nan. You have grandchildren to take care of.”
Can you believe it? This brave little boy, Bailey himself chalked out plans for his funeral. He decided the dress code for his own funeral. He wanted the guests to wear superhero costumes.
“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,” Rachel said amidst sobs.
But Bailey had just one Christmas wish. He wanted to meet his baby sister, Millie. But to make his parents happy he wrote out a list. On reviewing the list they found nothing on the list was meant for him. Everything was for others. Incredible generosity on display!
“Most of the stuff he asked for were things he never played with,” Lee said sorrowfully. “They were more suited for his little brother. He had picked everything for Riley because he knew he was not going to play with them.”
Bailey was happy & contented with the gift he had already received — living long enough to meet his baby Sis Millie.
The day before Bailey Cooper died, the proud big brother held Millie in his arms with the sweetest smile on his lips & with that same charismatic grin seen on his face during the painful cancer procedures.
“Bailey smiled through it all,” Lee recalled. “He pulled funny faces and made people laugh, even though he was in so much pain.”
On Christmas Eve, his family members were standing around him. At last Bailey found his healing. He proceeded home to be in the safe arms of his Lord.
Even in his final moments, Bailey expressed his care & concern for others. Bailey had a special request for his devastated parents:
“You’re only allowed to cry for 20 minutes. You have to take care of Riley and Millie.” Of course I’ll be watching my baby sis from Heaven.” “I want to stay but it’s my time to go, to become her guardian angel,” Bailey explained. A wisdom par excellence for a 9 year old kid!
Bailey’s funeral! Hundreds turned up at the service in superhero costumes. They wanted to honor Bailey’s last wish. Bailey spent just 9 years on Earth, but this kid with cancer lived long enough, to create a huge impact on the vast world around him.