Lititz boy hits goal and gets new look

By on June 8, 2016
 Cooper Burke, who raised $5,000 for charity, celebrated by getting his head shaved. Photo courtesy of the Burke family.


Cooper Burke, who raised $5,000 for charity, celebrated by getting his head shaved. Photo courtesy of the Burke family.

Thanks to the kindness and generosity of donors across the Unites States, Cooper Burke is sporting a new look.

It all began when the five-year-old from Lititz asked why some people are “balt?” (bald). That sparked a campaign to raise money to help children with cancer and a goal of $3,000 by June 1. If he hit that goal, Cooper would be allowed to shave his head, his parents said.

Cooper not only met his goal, but he surpassed it, raising $5,000 for the non-profit A Week Away in honor of a little girl named Emily.

His parents, Andy and Lisa, said Cooper could shave his head, but only with the condition of him turning it into an opportunity to help others.

Andy explained that Emily is the 18-month-old daughter of Meghan Gould, a college friend of his. She was diagnosed with cancer at seven months old. The family lives outside of Philadelphia.

Like son, like father. Andy and Cooper Burke sport their new look.

Like son, like father. Andy and Cooper Burke sport their new look.

The Burke family is very excited to have surpassed their original goal of $1,000.

“Yes, the total was $5,000!” said Andy. “We were thrilled and very excited about that. It is way more than the $1,000 we started with as a goal.”

“We feel great that Cooper was motivated by little Emily to help people like her through A Week Away,” Andy said. “He knows that this has not only been a fun experience, but that he is helping people, too.”

Andy said he is not sure about what is next.

“We are transitioning into summer now but I am sure we will find another opportunity to help others and make it fun sometime soon.”

As for getting his head shaved, Andy said Cooper was a bit nervous, so he went first.

Andy had surprised Cooper and agreed to shave his head June 4 with him since he met and surpassed the goal.

“He didn’t want to see himself in a mirror for a couple hours after doing it, but has since warmed up to it and likes it,” Andy said.

Cooper’s grandfather, Jack, who lives in Arizona, also promised if Cooper hit $3,000 that he would shave his head, as well.

“My father, Jack, shaved his head a few hours after us out in Arizona,” Andy said.

Emily Gould

Emily Gould

A Week Away is also proud of Cooper.

“AWA is run completely by volunteers and funded by private donations, so any support we receive is very much appreciated,” Marie McCune, vice president of AWA, said. “With Cooper’s fundraising campaign, we received donations from all over the country (Pennsylvania, Arizona, New Jersey, Minnesota, Tennessee, Ohio and South Carolina), which was pretty amazing to see.”

McCune said the average respite costs typically fall between $3,000-$5,000.

“This summer alone the organization has 10 respites planned so the funds raised by everyone who contributed to Cooper’s campaign will certainly be put to good use,” she said.

McCune had good news regarding Emily, as well.

“She recently received positive news from her physicians, which enabled us to schedule her family’s trip to Ocean City, Md., in August,” McCune said. “Her mom, Meghan Gould, said they are floored by how much money was raised and they are so excited for their week at the beach in a few weeks!”

A Week Away is a Lancaster-based 501(c) 3 non profit organization. AWA coordinates and finances respite weeks for families who are battling a life-threatening illness. The goal is to provide them the hope they need to continue their fight.

A Week Away is open to anyone, of any age, battling a life-threatening illness. The application can be found on its website at aweekaway.org.

Dena Reedy is a staff writer for the Lititz Record Express. She welcomes your questions and comments and can be reached at dreedy.eph@lnpnews.com or at 721-4434.

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