Back for a tenth year, Cooper Trooper Pumpkin Patch will be available from October 5-31st, 2019, at 530 Cool Springs Boulevard, Franklin.
Visiting the Cooper Trooper Pumpkin Patch has become a fall “family tradition” for many in this community. But, for the Cook family it is more than just about selling pumpkins. This special fundraiser, which started to help families who have been diagnosed with childhood cancer, holds a special place in the hearts of those who are behind it.
The “Story” Behind Cooper Trooper
In 2009, the Cooper Trooper Foundation (a 501(c)3 non-profit) was initiated after Rod and Missy Cook’s youngest son, Cooper, was diagnosed with a rare type of cancer called Infantile Fibrosarcoma, as an 8 week old. Thankfully, Cooper is cancer-free and healthy today!
A Mission was Born
It was through their traumatic journey, the Cooks realized that there was a huge need for sibling resources. During Cooper’s treatment, they experienced this first-hand with Cooper’s older brothers, who were often unintentionally “lost in the shuffle”, as all the focus was on their sick brother. Hence came Courage Kits for siblings of children with cancer, and a non-profit foundation was born. These kits are free and provided to individuals and hospitals. The intention is to remember and celebrate a sibling’s strength and courage, provide education, and enhance total family care. Along the way, the family learned that research specific to childhood cancer was severely underfunded and decided to make that a part of their mission as well. As of September 2019, Cooper Trooper has given $300,000 to a fund for childhood cancer research at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt. It is because of the success of the Pumpkin Patch that we are able to do these things.
Then Tragedy Strikes Again
Not only does the Pumpkin Patch fulfill a mission of helping families who have been diagnosed with childhood cancer, but there is a part of the story that goes even deeper. Tragically, in 2013, Rod Cook (Co-founder with his wife, Missy, and father to Cooper) died suddenly after suffering a massive cardiac arrest at the age of 42. It is their heart’s desire for Missy and her three boys to continue the legacy that Rod was so passionate about. As a way to honor and remember him, the t-shirts worn by volunteers and sold at the patch since 2013, have displayed Rod’s initials on the sleeve “RC 1971-2013.”
When you purchase your pumpkins from the Cooper Trooper Pumpkin Patch, you really are getting “Pumpkins with a Purpose.” 100% of profit from the patch fundraiser goes toward fulfilling the mission of childhood cancer research and sibling support.