Santa Clarita Valley community members are coming together in support of a Hart High grad and his wife after their 9-day-old baby was born with cancer.
The 2003 Hart High grad Eric Wilson and his wife, Danielle, met while working at the Lazy Dog Restaurant & Bar in the Valencia Town Center.
The two moved to Denver and were married in 2013. They announced their pregnancy about a year later. Cooper Wilson was born into the Wilson family Jan. 20.
“The pregnancy was fine and there were no complications,” said Chelsea Wilson, Cooper’s aunt. “Danielle had an emergency (cesarean section) five days before Cooper’s due date. He came out and it started to go downhill from there.”
Cooper had difficulty breathing and had bruises because of a clotting problem, Chelsea Wilson said. Hospital staff thought the baby had a virus, but after about three days of tests, doctors found that Cooper had acute myeloid leukemia.
At 4 days old, Cooper already was undergoing chemotherapy treatments.
Doctors told Eric and Danielle Wilson their son would go through about four rounds of chemotherapy and would be in the hospital between six months to a year, Chelsea Wilson said. Cooper has a 50 percent chance of being cancer-free in five years.
“It’s been really, really difficult for all of us — starting with the fact they live in Denver,” said Chelsea Wilson, who lives in the Santa Clarita Valley and is married to Eric Wilson’s brother. “All of his family lives in Santa Clarita and her immediate family lives on the east coast and Orange County.”
Doctors have limited the number of people who are allowed to visit Cooper to prevent the baby from being exposed to any illnesses, she said. The only people allowed to see him other than his doctors and nurses are his parents and grandparents.
“It’s one of those things where there is nothing you can say and there is nothing you can do. It’s one of the most difficult, horrible situations,” Chelsea Wilson said. “All of our friends and family have thrown themselves into the fundraising efforts. It’s giving us something positive to focus on in this really dark time. It’s incredible how this community has helped.”
Officials with the Hart High School’s Boy’s Basketball team are planning to host a fundraiser to help the Wilson family with medical expenses.
“He played four years of basketball for us. He played football and basketball. He was a great athlete and a great kid with a great family,” said Tom Kelly, a coach for the boy’s basketball team, who added that Eric Wilson played forward center for the team. “We’re just doing anything we can to help. He’s a hard-working, competitive kid.”
The Hart High fundraiser with scheduled for Feb. 6 during the 6:30 p.m. varsity game. A booth will be set up for those who wish to donate to Cooper and the Wilson family.
Another fundraiser is planned to be held on Feb. 17, Chelsea Wilson said. The fundraiser will last all day. Attendees will need to bring a flyer which will be posted on the Help Cooper website. Lazy Dog Cafe officials are planning to donate 15 percent of the proceeds.
More details about fundraisers for Cooper can be found on the Help Cooper Facebook page.
“All of the money fundraised is going directly to Cooper’s family and are to be used for medical and living expenses. We want to support them to stay off of work during this time,” Chelsea Wilson said. “They have some paid time off. If, per chance, we get so many donations that it goes beyond what they need, they have agreed to donate the money to the hospital or someone else who may need it.”