Alex Cooper was diagnosed with a Stage III Oligodendroglioma in June of 2016, months after discovering he and his wife, Maggie, were expecting their first child, Maura Kate. Prior to diagnosis, he had experienced no symptoms until he had a seizure at work on April 11, 2016. Though the news was hard to accept, Alex was also very lucky—we refer to his diagnosis as the “luckiest of the unlucky.” His post-surgery tests revealed he had certain genetic co-deletions and mutations that made him more receptive to treatment and he also was able to get into a National Institutes of Health study due to the rarity of his cancer diagnosis—only 4% of all brain tumors are oligodendrogliomas. And through a rendezvous Alex thinks was organized by God himself, a former neighbor and classmate from elementary school was his neurosurgeon.
His brain surgery in May 2016 was incredibly successful and all identifiable tumor tissue was removed. Alex experienced almost no cognitive loss and returned to work two weeks after the surgery. After that was a whirlwind of raditiation and chemo, with the October 2016 birth of Maura Kate in between to bring about a massive amount of joy and little sleep. While the past two years have been tough in ways we could not have imagined, everyone around him agrees that Alex's sense of humor and wit has helped him be a total badass (and, to quote one of his nurses, "his continued ability to sharply express his opinions" led to Maggie giving him the mostly affectionate nickname Badass Jackass).
Although he continues do to well, brain cancer is serious business. The rate of recurrence is nearly 80%. However, medical technology continues to improve, and we remain hopeful that he has a good chance of living a long and happy life, especially in light of former-Vice President Biden’s “moonshot” project to seek a cure for this malevolent disease. According to Alex, his greatest wishes are to watch his daughter grow up and to grow old together with his wife, who has been an incredible rock of support during the darkest moments of this unexpected and challenging journey. And for Alabama to win every football game for the rest of time and for Nick Saban to live FOR-E-VER (Maggie added that). Oh, and he would also like for someone to find a cure and eradicate this sinister illness from existence!
Please remember that although Alex has this unique form of brain cancer, it could come back as another type. This is why for the second year, he will walk in the Race for Hope to raise money and awareness for all brain cancers. After all, who likes a selfish cancer patient! Alex hopes that you will join him or donate whatever amount of money with which you feel comfortable—every dollar counts! Thanks in advance for your help and support!