9-year-old battling cancer given ‘days or weeks’ to live—he held on just to see little sister

When a young boy in the United Kingdom was told that he was given only “days or weeks” due to a rare cancer, he started planning for his funeral. At the same time, he fought hard for months just to be able to see his newborn sister before he passes on.

Bailey Cooper, a 9-year-old boy from Patchway, a town in England, started to feel unwell in the summer of 2016. Doctors had thought he had a viral infection, but when he started feeling worse, he was given a blood test, and the results were not what any parent would want to hear. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer called Non-Hodgkin lymphoma, and it was already in Stage Three.

“We didn’t know anything then,” his father, Lee, told Bristol Post.

In February 2017, doctors thought he would survive, but the cancer returned during Easter.


“He went into chemo again,” Lee said. The family was told Bailey had a 70 percent survival chance.

But Bailey went into remission at the end of July, and by the end of August, the cancer got worse.

The family was told the cancer was late Stage Four. They were told that Bailey only had “days or weeks” to live.

Lee and Rachel then went to inform Bailey of the bad news, but the young boy was strong and “took it all in” after a few hours.

“He gave us a smile and said ‘let’s go home.’ He wanted to process it and needed reassurances what was going to happen after he died,” Lee recalled.

“Those three months were absolutely horrendous. We knew he didn’t have very long, and we tried to enjoy whatever time he had left,” Rachel said.

Bailey started to make plans for his funeral and told his parents he wanted everyone to dress up in superhero costumes.

He started to deteriorate week by week while on painkillers.

“We didn’t think he would last that long, but he was determined to meet Millie (his newborn sister). 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.

“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,” Lee said. “But the moment after he met her, he began to taper off quickly. He was slipping away.”

Bailey was taken to a hospice on Dec. 22, and passed away on Christmas Eve.

It was hard for the family to say goodbye.

“We have to carry on for Bailey,” Rachel said. “He told us in our last family meeting: ‘You’re only allowed to cry for 20 minutes. You have to take care of Riley (Bailey’s younger brother) and Millie.’”

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