One look at Carson Cooper and you’d never know this brave 10-year-old is in the fight of his life.
While battling leukemia, he keeps a bright smile and stays positive.
“In the beginning it was hard and scary, but it’s gotten better and better,” said Cooper.
His way of coping with the disease is helping other Des Moines families in similar situations.
“I knew how hard it was in the beginning. I wanted to make sure kids weren’t scared and have it not be as hard in the beginning as it was for me,” Cooper said.
In 2011, the Cooper family started a non-profit called Kids Living Brave.
“We do what’s called ‘Brave Baskets’. We put things like medical grade thermometers to toys in there that help them ease into treatment,” said Carson’s mother, Pam Cooper.
The main fundraiser is an event called ‘Pitcher Perfect’.
A family friend with a big arm and a big heart was more than willing to help.
“I kind of see Carson as a little brother. I’m happy to do this for him,” said Jeremy Hellickson, a pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays.
For the second year, Hellickson, a star pitcher for the Tampa Bay Rays and graduate of Hoover High School held a pitching clinic Saturday at Grand Slam USA in Urbandale.
More than 100 kids participated, getting valuable advice from a pro.
Every dollar earned from the clinic and silent auction goes to support families like the Barkers who have also been affected by leukemia.
“It’s been a great support system to have with other families,” said Salene Barker.
Local families are becoming a team and showing that no one should have to fight cancer alone.
“We know now what it is and what you have to go through,” said Cooper.
In 2013, the event raised $6,500 dollars for Kids Living Brave.
LifeServe Blood Center was also on hand accepting donations to help kids with cancer.