Chasing Away Childhood Cancer


Cooper Cate’s Story

On October 17, 2005, Cooper Cates went to his 6 month old well check at his pediatrician’s office. As part of the normal checkup, Cooper’s doctor was feeling his abdomen. His face became still and his demeanor changed. Cooper’s liver and spleen were quite enlarged due to either anemia or a tumor. He was sent immediately to MUSC’s oncology unit to undergo testing. His scans revealed a large mass in his abdomen and his liver looked like Swiss cheese. Cooper’s liver was taken over by tumors. Four days later, Cooper had surgery to biopsy the tumor and find out exactly what was taking over his body. Cooper had Stage IV Neuroblastoma and was given a 20% chance of survival. They were able to take out the entire softball-sized tumor which had flattened his left kidney. He went through 5 rounds of high dose chemo and then his parents were told the chemo was not working and there was no hope left for Cooper. They proceeded with his 6th and final round of chemo and ran another set of scans. Miraculously, the last set of scans was clean. He then had a stem cell transplant followed by 13 rounds of Accutane and was the first child at MUSC to receive immunotherapy. The widespread pain and fevers took over his infant body during this excruciating treatment. During this difficult treatment, his parents were told to focus on Kindergarten. Sure enough, Cooper is a happy and healthy 5 year old that started Kindergarten this year. His parents credit Cooper’s remission to the immunotherapy and, of course, God.