Little boy with big heart raising money to help others

By on May 25, 2016
Cooper Burke
Cooper Burke

Cooper Burke

It all started with a simple question. And now a five-year-old boy from Lititz is on a mission to raise $3,000 to help children with cancer.

Cooper Burke, who was four at the time, asked his father, Andy, why some people are bald.

“Only he called it ‘balt,’” Andy said, “and he asked us if he could be ‘balt,’ as well.”

Andy said he explained to his son the various reasons why people are bald and he and his wife, Lisa, agreed that Cooper could shave his head, but only with the condition of him turning it into an opportunity to help others.

“We wanted to turn it into a teaching experience,” he said.

Cooper, who celebrated his fifth birthday April 22, is now hoping to raise $3,000 by June 1 for the non-profit A Week Away in honor of a little girl named Emily.

Emily Good

Emily Good

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.

“Andy, who is also a volunteer at AWA, attended Millersville University with Emily’s mom, Meghan,” Marie McCune, vice president of AWA, said. “Through Facebook, Andy learned that Emily was battling brain cancer and saw what the family was going through with Emily’s diagnosis. He reached out to Meghan about the services provided through AWA and encouraged her to apply.”

McCune said Emily has had some ups and downs “but we are hoping to be able to schedule a beach trip for them this summer once her condition stabilizes.”

“We are so honored that Cooper has chosen to do this for A Week Away in Emily’s honor,” Meghan Gould said. “He is a little guy with a big heart and we are very proud of him!”

Gould said A Week Away is an organization that is very important to her family.

‘So we are thrilled that he has chosen to donate to them,” she said. “We are so thankful for Cooper, A Week Away and all of our family and friends who have rallied around Emily and supported our family.”

Emily is not the only one Cooper is thinking about.

Cooper also lost his Grandma Carol to cancer less than two years ago, Andy said.

With Emily and Grandma Carol in mind, Cooper decided to shave his head and raise money to help kids with cancer, Andy said.

Shown (from left to right) Andy, Lisa and Cooper Burke.

Shown (from left to right) Andy, Lisa and Cooper Burke.

And since that moment, it has been full-steam ahead. When asked why he is doing this in a video posted on AWA’s Facebook page, Cooper said, “because I want to help fight cancer for little Emily and other people, especially Grandma.”

Cooper had an initial goal of raising $1,000 by June 1, and planned to shave his head shortly after, his father said. He quickly exceeded that goal and is now at about $2,500 of his new goal of $3,000 by June 1.

Since he has hit the $2,000 goal, Cooper will be allowed to shave his head June 4. The surprise? His father will be joining him.

“He doesn’t know that yet,” his father said.

However, there is extra incentive to hit the $3,000 goal.

“If he makes $3,000, his Papa Jack in Arizona will shave his head, too,” Andy said.

Cooper is setting the bar pretty high.

“Cooper is definitely our youngest fundraiser,” McCune said. “When Andy called and told me that Cooper wanted to shave his head and about their plan to use it as a teachable experience for him to raise funds to honor Emily and others involved with AWA, I couldn’t have been more excited. Through social media, we have been able to reach so many people who have been touched by the Burkes thoughtfulness and generosity.

McCune said they have had donations from $10 to $1,000 to support Cooper’s goal.

“We are always humbled anytime someone is willing to raise funds or awareness for AWA and Cooper is no exception,” she said.

To make a donation, visit, aweekaway.org.

For more information, you can also visit: the AWA Facebook page and a Facebook page started in Emily’s honor, Emily’s Smiles, to learn more about them both.

A Week Away is a Lancaster-based 501(c) 3 non-profit organization. At AWA, they coordinate and finance respite weeks for families who are battling a life-threatening illness, with the goal of providing 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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One Comment

  1. Andrea Mull

    May 26, 2016 at 12:44 pm

    What a wonderful, thoughtful little boy! Such a great cause, very close to my heart too!! Good luck Cooper, hope you make your $3 goal (I donated via pay pal and put my request to go towards your campaign for little Emily!)! Good luck and best wishes!!

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