Cooper Martin was a normal, rambunctious six-year-old when he and his family faced an unimaginable diagnosed - a cancerous brain tumor called medulloblastoma. After undergoing a 10-hour brain surgery, the surgeons were able to successfully remove the tumor but warned that complications could still occur. While recovering in the ICU, Cooper’s family learned that Cooper was left paralyzed - unable to walk, talk or swallow.
When he arrived at Spaulding, his mother, Jennifer, describes feeling numb. Quickly, Cooper’s family began to feel a calm comfort as everyone from the ambulance drivers, nurses, and therapists who helped them on a daily basis made, “an uncomfortable experience comfortable.”
"Spaulding was such a critical part in our journey. It made us stronger physically and mentally.”
Because of Cooper’s complicated medical condition, he received a wide array of nursing and medical care, as well as vigorous therapy, including physical, occupational and speech therapy.
Jennifer said, “Spaulding was a critical step in a long journey in terms of how much he progressed. It was hard to leave.”
When the Martin family did finally leave Spaulding Charlestown, Cooper was walking, talking and eating on his own.
Today, two years after leaving Spaulding, he’s playing soccer, baseball and living his life like a normal kid.
Find your strength is the Spaulding motto; it could be the Martin family’s motto too. They rallied around this motto, and were led by their care team to know to push Cooper and when to let him heal on his own.
As Cooper and his family look back on his experience, their advice to other patients and their families is to take their recovery one day or one minute at a time. The team at Spaulding helped them heal and get through his illness.
As Cooper’s mom looks to the future, she said she hopes in five years Cooper will be a healthy, normal kid.
From this experience, Cooper’s mom, Jennifer, started the Closer to the Cure website. Closer to the Cure is an information and supportive site, collaborating with foundations with like-minded missions to raise awareness, advance pediatric brain tumor research through fundraising, improve the quality of life, impact pivotal legislative action and find a cure.