January 21, 2018
Waking up this morning, 22 January, 2018, is reminiscent of Christmas morning last year. There is that overriding air of something special that requires celebration, combined with that aching pit in our stomachs that will not go away.
Every parent wants to mark their child’s birthday each year with something special, irrespective of age, or even when they aren’t physically with you. The idea of a celebration today however, is far removed from each of our thoughts.
I guess it is the day we have all been dreading for the past five months, and yet here it is, and as with each of the milestones to date, we will attempt to all put our best foot forward, and make the most of it.
Without Cooper, our family exists in a highly- altered state. We appreciate what we have, and we truly appreciate those around us, but his absence is, and I suspect, always will be , such an overriding force in our lives. For eighteen years, his larger than life presence, beautiful smile, wicked sense of humour, willingness to debate anything and everything, his innocence, and his humility, has blessed our lives, and the void he has left defies words.
There is so very much to miss about our precious son and brother, but we are not alone. So many feel his absence in so many different ways. I hear the comment so often, that he used to make others laugh – usually at someone else’s expense, and how much that is missed amongst sporting teams, school friends alike. I was usually the butt of his jokes at home, so I understand this. Loyalty to his friends was also a big part of who he was. He would never let a friend down. As his family, we miss his courage, bravery, and determination in the face of adversity, and we miss his dominating physical presence in our lives, despite it being very different for each of us. When you lose someone you love, you lose the physical essence of who they were, and it is something that can never be replaced.
The Foundation that proudly bears Cooper’s name will today, celebrate several milestones without him. He would have been so touched to see the CRBF 1st X1 play the CRBF All Stars at Trumper Park, an oval where he spent the majority of the last decade playing AFL for East Sydney Bulldogs. After all, sport was his life.
The ABC 7.30 Report last week showcased Coops Foundation, and the last twelve months of his life, a piece lovingly compiled by journalist Lesley Robinson, which has been a work in progress for the past year. We announce today that Cooper’s long held hope of CRBF operating as a registered charity, is one step closer, with our application to the ACNC – the final step in registration. We will continue to support our long held partnerships with Chris O’Brien Lifehouse, and the Australian Cancer Research Fund, whilst diversifying with some funding directly to pipeline projects through our most recent partner, the Australian Sarcoma Group.
So today we all join in Cooper’s long held dream of making the world a better place for those young people facing this unspeakably difficult journey- one step at a time, one determined foot in front of the other…
Never be in any doubt as to how much we truly appreciate your love and support throughout this unspeakably difficult journey.