A nine-year-old boy battled terminal cancer long enough to meet and name his newborn baby sister. As he neared the end, the little boy told his devastated parents: “You can only cry for twenty minutes.”
The brave boy, Bailey Cooper, managed to battle the horrific disease for 15 months. He was determined to hold on long enough to meet his new sibling who was due.
His mom, 28-year-old Rachel, gave birth to the baby girl in November and Bailey named her Millie. The day before he passed away, Bailey was pictured cradling his precious baby sister in his arms.
You can clearly see the love of a proud big brother written all over his face.
Tragically, Bailey died on Christmas Eve. His mom and dad, 30-year-old Lee, said that their brave boy smiled all the way through his treatment.
“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,” Rachel said.
Bailey’s dad, Lee, added: “Doctors said he was going to go before Millie was born. He didn’t. He fought and on the way to hospital, he said we should call her Millie.”
“But the moment after he met her, he began to taper off quickly. He was slipping away.”
On his deathbed, little Bailey Cooper said that he wanted to stay but told his devastated family, “it’s my time to go, to become her guardian angel.”
The family made the devastating realization that Bailey was unlikely to survive long enough to celebrate Christmas with them, but still encouraged him to write a list of gifts he would like.
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 noticed the gifts Bailey chose seemed to be picked out with his younger brother, Riley, age 6, in mind.
Knowing that he was dying, Bailey planned his own funeral and asked that all guests dressed up in superhero outfits.
He told his parents during what would be their last family meeting: “You’re only allowed to cry for 20 minutes. You have to take care of Riley and Millie.”
When his grandmother told him she wished that she could take his place, Bailey told her: “That is really selfish Nan. You have grandchildren to take care of.”
Even through his suffering, the 9-year-old boy was thinking only of his younger siblings.
After being placed in hospice care on December 22nd, Bailey’s family gathered by his bedside and read him stories to keep him company during his final moments.
“By 11:45 am 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.’”
“The moment we said ‘stop,’ he took his last breath and had just the one tear come out of his eye. It was peaceful.”
Lee added: “We were going to get everything he asked for. But most of the stuff he asked for were things he never played with.”
“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.”
Young Bailey first became ill in the summer of 2016. After a series of tests in September, he was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, which develops in the network of vessels and glands in the body.
By the time doctors discovered the cancer, it was tragically already in Stage Three.
Bailey went through chemotherapy and steroid medication, and doctors were optimistic that he would recover. In February 2017 he went into remission.
Bailey was then subjected to regular check-ups and routine MRIs every three months.
During a family holiday, his parents were dealt a devastating blow.
Lee shared: “On the second day, we were in Paignton Zoo when we had a phone call from the hospital that he had relapsed and they needed him back in. Bailey showed signs that he was breathless and tired.”
The family was told there was a 70 percent survival rate and chemotherapy began again for Bailey.
“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,” Lee said.
“He had a stem cell transplant. We had to try everything we could.”
By July, the family was told once again that Bailey was in remission, but sadly only one month later in August, the cancer had come back. They were then told there was nothing more which could be done for their precious son.
The vicious cancer had spread so quickly that lumps were found in Bailey’s chest, lungs, liver and stomach.
Hundreds of people turned out to pay their respects to Bailey on January 6, including Bristol Rovers FC captain Tom Lockyer, who struck up a friendship with the young football fan.
Lee said: “Bailey smiled through it all. He pulled funny faces and made people laugh, even though he was in so much pain.”
Please keep this family in your prayers. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain they must be going through. Bailey, you were so brave and so strong. It comforts me to know you are no longer suffering. Rest in peace with Jesus, sweet boy.