GAFFNEY, S.C. (WSPA) – September is Childhood Cancer Awareness Month and 7 News spoke with a Gaffney girl who won her battle with bone cancer.
Peyton Cooper, 19, shared her story in hopes of inspiring others who may be going through a similar fight.
“Sometimes I forget about it,” Peyton Cooper said.
When she was 15-years-old, Cooper was hit with news that changed her whole life. She was diagnosed with cancer.
“It doesn’t really seem real a lot of times,” she said.
The day she and her parents heard the “C-word” is still a blur to them.
“My preacher was there and my best friend was there—Brenda. And, honestly, I don’t remember a lot about that day. Brenda says she remembers almost just picking me up off the floor,” Peyton’s mom, Tina Cooper, said.
Doctors found a tumor on Peyton Cooper’s right knee.
She spent nine weeks in the hospital and went through 18 rounds of chemotherapy .
She couldn’t go to school for an entire year and wasn’t able to go places with her friends either.
“It was really hard to stay positive in the hospital, mostly because you just see the same four walls all day and there’s nothing to do,” Peyton Cooper said.
Every day, for nine months, Cooper battled. She had to accept the fact that she no longer lived a normal teenager’s life.
“I had to deal with not having my hair. It was just coming out in clumps,” she said.
It affected her family, too.
“I had to quit my job. My sister also quit her job to help with everything,” Tina Cooper said.
But the Cooper family leaned on their faith and told 7 News they had more support than they ever expected.
“The community rallied behind us. Friends and family—I can’t say enough about them. We were very blessed,” Tina Cooper said. “Our front door was a revolving door. People in and out. We were just in a whirlwind. Complete shock.”
Finally, in January of 2017, Cooper finished her last round of chemo and didn’t have to go back to the hospital.
“I didn’t even know what to do with myself. We were there every day, so I was like, ‘Okay, what do we do now?'” Peyton Cooper said.
Peyton Cooper happily turned the page on that chapter of her life.
“A lot of people say, ‘Why me? Why me?’ And Peyton always said, ‘Why not me? I’m no different than anybody else.’ She was the strongest 15-year-old I have ever seen,” her mom said.
“Looking back, this sounds weird, but I’m thankful for it, because I feel like I have a big testimony to share,” Peyton Cooper added. “And I had to grow up a lot through it, but I’m thankful for it.”
Peyton Cooper now has a message for other children who may be facing the same kind of battle she faced.
“It’s going to be hard, but don’t lose your faith, because you have so many people who are supporting you. And God is always on your side,” she said.