“Cops for Cooper”: East Tennessee law enforcement officers come together to surprise 4-year-old fighting cancer


FARRAGUT, Tenn. (WATE)- Police cruisers have always excited Cooper Stansbury, and recently he got to meet the men and women who ride in them.

Cooper Stansbury, 4, has been fighting cancer.

On Nov. 4, 2019, Cooper was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a type of cancer that attacks the adrenal glands: impacting his emotions. Doctors were able to remove his cancer, and after rounds of chemotherapy there is currently no active disease in his body.

Cancer has not slowed the active, energetic, happy-go-lucky kid. Lauren and Samuel Stansbury, Cooper’s parents, describe Cooper’s activity level going from 100 mph to 80 mph whose smile has not left his face.

“He doesn’t stop, even the doctors came in and said his attitude and his positive outlook is going to take him to the end,” says Lauren, “It’s incredible, he’s the one that keeps us going.”

Cooper’s energy and fun-loving spirit were on display at Mayor Bob Leonard Park, as police cruisers, fire trucks and motorcycles paraded past him, his family and his friends.

Lauren has been posting Cooper’s journey on her Facebook page. Cooper has been fighting off a fever. She made a post about putting a cool cloth on his forehead with Cooper asking, “Did the cool water and fever have a war inside my brain?” That post struck a chord for Matt Fagiana, a deputy with the Loudon County Sheriff’s Office.

Fagiana then decided he wanted to do something special for Cooper and his family.

“I thought, ya know, this kid has exhibited more courage than anyone at 4-years-old should ever have to,” Fagiana said. “I decided I wanted to reach out to his family to see if we could do something for him.”

Fagiana reached out to area law enforcement and five different agencies answered his call.

Lt. Stacey Heatherly with the Tennessee Highway Patrol, says once Fagiana reached out she had to hop on board.

“How can you refuse?,” Heatherly said, pausing to reflect on being a part of his surprise “I mean it’s an awesome thing. We love to represent and help kids and do what we can for children in our community. … I’m a momma and a grandmother, so it’s pretty dear to my heart.”

Cooper even got to experience sitting in a helicopter and getting a first-hand look at what goes on in the cockpit after two helicopters joined the event.

Sgt. Ryan Quinn with the Aviation Station for Tennessee Highway Patrol said when he landed, knowing what Cooper is going through and seeing his big smile just made him want to smile even more.

“For him to be going what he’s going through and still be as happy as he is, is exciting in itself,” Quinn said.

The Stansburys are very grateful for the community’s support.

“They say it takes a village to raise a kid. That’s right. This is our village. This is our village,” said Lauren surrounded by family, friends and officers.

Regardless of where the county lines start and end, community members in East Tennessee rally together to make life-changing, memorable events happen.

“Our law enforcement community, while we may be separated by county lines, we’re very close, and when somebody in our community needs something, we often pull each other together to help step up to the plate and take care of that. So today’s just another great example of that,” Fagiana said.


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