Daily Progress, Jacksonville, TX

August 13, 2013

Child whose failing health inspired prayer effort dies at age 1

Ben Tinsley
Jacksonville Daily Progress

ALTO — Little Cooper Low was born with a heart defect so severe physicians had not expected him to survive birth. However, to his family's delight, he lived.

Cooper would have been 2 years old next week had he not suffered fatal heart complications Friday, his pastor explained. The 1-year-old died in a Houston hospital Friday.

“The doctors tried valiantly to save him, but he just couldn't survive,” said the family's pastor, Gary L. Pridmore of the First Baptist Church of Alto.

During his short life, Cooper's failing health prompted his church community to circulate signs along Cherokee County roads urging passersby to “Pray For Cooper.” After it picked up steam, another child also named Cooper was added to this prayer effort.

A funeral service for Cooper Low is planned for 3 p.m. Wednesday in the First Baptist Church in Alto – with  Pridmore officiating. Burial will be held in the Low Family Cemetery.

There will be no visitation, according to the child's obituary from O.T. Allen & Son Funeral Home of Alto.

Born in Houston to Heath and Lisa Low, the youngster was said to have a special love for both cows and Mickey Mouse.

Indeed, Cooper was loved ferociously by his family. But his health was always precarious and would constantly plummet during his brief life, the pastor said.

“Cooper's health would improve for awhile, and then he would start having episodes of difficulty again,”  Pridmore said.  

Most recently, Cooper had been waiting for a heart transplant. But a donor could not be located in time. The child waited seven months without success, the pastor said.

“Because they couldn't find a donor in time, they had no choice but to put him on a mechanical heart,” Pridmore said.  

Cooper's family is devastated by his death, the pastor said.

“They are very, very, drained and just in deep emotional distress,” the pastor  said. “They went through such a roller coaster. Cooper was better one minute and worse the next. There was hope and then there wasn't. It was such a back-and-forth they really were pushed beyond their limits.”

Many Cherokee County motorists saw the “Pray For Cooper” signs. At one point, at least 30 signs adorned Highway 69 from Alto to Wells.

Meanwhile, the other Cooper for whom the prayer effort was named is Cooper Calvin Somers, an Humble-area boy with relatives in Rusk who suffers from Spinal Muscular Atrophy.

This other Cooper turns 3 in August, according to the “Cooper's Crusaders” Facebook page established by his mother, Crystal Somers.

Cooper's Crusaders was developed to raise awareness of  Spinal Muscular Atrophy Type 1/2 and help meet Cooper's medical needs, his mother has said.

Cooper Somers, incidentally, has known more tragedy in his young life than many adults. His father, Jason, died on Dec. 18, 2012 when he was killed in a car accident on the way to work.

Cooper's mother said the memory of her late husband drives her forward in her quest to provide her son with the best life possible.

There's still a lot to pray for, she said.

“I know Jason is with us and watching over us and with God's help will guide Cooper and I on our new journey in life,” she wrote on Facebook.