Friday, August 05, 2011

TOP STORY > >Cabot rallies for transplant patient

Leader staff writer

An estimated 350 people gathered on a steamy Wednesday night at the Cabot High School flag pole to sing songs of worship and pray for the healthy recovery of a teenage liver-transplant recipient.

Cabot High School senior Kelly Cooper, 17, is at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, where she had a liver transplant Thursday morning. Cooper has Wilson’s disease. According to the Mayo Clinic’s website, the disease is an inherited disorder that allows too much copper to accumulate in the liver, brain and vital organs. Normally, excess copper is removed from the body with bile. It’s a treatable disease.

Cooper’s friend Kayla Kidd, also a 12th-grader, said the prayer gathering came about because earlier in the week, she could not sleep at night over concern about Cooper. She went to the social networking website Facebook and made an open invitation for anyone wanting to pray for Cooper to meet on Wednesday. After the prayer event, Kidd heard someone used Skype, a video-conferencing website to let Cooper’s family view the prayer gathering as it happened while they were in St. Louis.

“Kelly and I are really close. She’s positive and reaches out to others. She would be overwhelmed and happy seeing the support. We love Kelly a ton,” Kidd said.

“We’re very blessed she found a donor. We’re glad our prayers have been answered. We are praying for the donor’s family and for Kelly’s full recovery,” she said.

Many people at the gathering wore orange shirts, Cooper’s favorite color and Wilson’s disease-awareness color. “We can’t wait for her to come back and cheer on our Panthers,” Kidd said.

Cabot High School television and video production teacher Chuck Massey said when Cooper returns, she will be in her third year in the television program.

“She will be the first female sports director for Cabot High School TV,” Massey said.

“I think it’s so awesome that we are coming together as a community to praise the Lord even though it is a tragedy that brought us here,” Enkay Myers, a 12th-grader said.

On Friday morning, Kidd told The Leader that Cooper is doing well. Her surgery took five-and-a-half hours instead of the usual eight to 12. She is getting her color back. She is sedated and on a ventilator so her body can rest. Kidd is mailing photos of the prayer event to Cooper’s family.

Shirts, ribbons and bracelets supporting Cooper are being sold with 100 percent of the proceeds going to Cooper. Students are planning to wear orange shirts on the first day of school. Shirts can be purchased by contacting Alli Lamb through Facebook.

An account has been set up for Cooper at Centennial Bank to help pay her medical bills. Donations can be deposited at any Centennial Bank location under the Prayers for Kelly Cooper fund.

Kidd said a huge party is planned when Kelly gets better.

“Keep praying,” Kidd said.