Super Cooper on track to get new wheels

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The parents of seven-year-old ‘cerebral palsy warrior’ have expressed their heart-felt thanks after £10,000 was raised in less than a week to buy their son two sets of bespoke wheels.

Cooper Scally, known as Super Cooper, was born 14 weeks prematurely, on May 14, 2012, weighing just 1lb 12oz. He spent the first 16 months of his life in hospital in Glasgow and has endured eight major operations, 18 blood transfusions and a resuscitation in his short life.

Despite all the odds, Cooper thrives today but he cannot walk, talk or eat independently, and is fed via a gastrostomy tube in his stomach.

At the moment, he uses a ‘run-of-the-mill’ NHS-funded wheelchair but, determined to give him the freedom to move independently, Cooper’s parents, Zoey and Greg, set up a JustGiving page in September hoping to raise £10,000 to pay for a new light-weight wheelchair and a disability trike, both custom-made.

Zoey explained the difference the CLEO wheelchair by Hoggi will make to Cooper’s life, saying: ‘Having this state-of-the-art wheelchair will mean that Cooper has the ability to self-propel as this is designed specifically for that reason.

‘Its lightweight design will also make our lives so much easier as we have to lift his equipment in and out of the car, as well as him, and eventually that takes its toll on you.’

She explained that an added off-road adaption to the wheelchair order will enable them to travel over rough terrain without Cooper being uncomfortable.

‘This is incredible for us as we can take the dogs to places like Lussa Loch as a family,’ Zoey said. ‘And having the Tomcat Trike will significantly increase Cooper’s quality of life as it will give him access to therapeutic cycling which is incredible for his diagnosis.

‘There is also a social aspect as the trike will do Cooper for years to come so he can use it to participate in things like cycling proficiency.’

Zoey told the Courier that she ‘burst into tears’ when she realised they had surpassed their £10,000 goal after less than a week, thanks in part to comedian Jason Manford and his ‘charity ninjas’.

Zoey explained that the comedian chooses a ‘worthy cause’ to which he challenges his fans to donate small amounts of money overnight, so that the fundraisers wake up with considerably more money than the night before. All the donations are anonymous, signed off simply as being from a ‘charity ninja’.

Although the charity ninjas were responsible for about £8,000 of the money received, ‘restoring Zoey’s faith in humanity’, she cannot thank the people of Kintyre enough for all they have done.

She said: ‘Greg and I would just like to thank each and every person who has donated. We are so incredibly grateful and we will never forget the immense kindness shown to us by the the people in the Wee Toon.’

Not anticipating raising the money so quickly, there are still some outstanding fundraising events planned – Cooper’s friend since nursery, Nina Woods, and six of her friends were set to complete a two-mile relay swim at Aqualibrium on Wednesday; Greg and five of his friends are walking the West Highland Way in March; and Cooper’s cousin Graham, who is also seven, and his dad are planning to cycle from Campbeltown to Machrihanish and back on October 13.

Zoey said that the extra money means the family can tick two more items off the ‘Cooper wish-list’. One is a ‘safety sleeper’ – costing almost £3,000 – which is a safe space in which Cooper can sleep when he is away from home and his hospital-profiling bed which has bumpers to prevent him from rolling off the bed and injuring himself during the night.

Zoey added: ‘We’re also looking at getting the Freeloader Child Carrier [costing about £300] which will enable Greg to carry Cooper on his back for a few years yet, allowing him to fulfill his dream of taking Cooper to the top of Bengullion.

‘The money that has been raised over our total will by no means be going to waste. I literally wish I could thank everyone who has donated in person and give each of them a massive hug.’

As well as enhancing his quality of life, Cooper’s new wheels might come in handy for one of his future roles – page boy at his parents’ wedding. Zoey, 26, and Greg, 27, are set to tie the knot in September 2020 and it is hoped that Super Cooper will be able to self-propel his new wheelchair down the aisle.