Columbia County teacher supported by school while battling cancer

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Martinez, GA (WJBF)- A middle school in Columbia County is showing it’s support for a teacher battling cancer. Stallings Island Middle School raises money for Relay for life every year, but this year it means more.

Brett Cooper is a math teacher, head football coach and baseball coach at Stallings Island who is fighting a form on Non Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. He is missing the first semester of the school year for treatment and his colleagues said he’s missed.

“We definitely feel his absence here and miss Brett daily,” said Theresa Davis, a Stallings Island Middle Teacher.

Brett Cooper was diagnosed with cancer in April and has been undergoing treatment ever since. To honor him, the school dedicated its annual Relay for Life campaign to him.

Casey Heckathorn, a friend and colleague, helped design a special rock star inspired t-shirt to sell for the fundraiser.

“I guess, I just know Brett’s love of music. he teaches with a guitar in his hands sometimes. It’s how he teaches math, which is super unique. I know he’s involved with a band with his church. Always going to concerts, always talking about music,” he said.

Davis said that Cooper’s positive attitude and energy is inspiring.

“I’ve never seen him negative about anything, and so that has generated such a positive impact on the faculty and the students,” Davis said.

Heckathorn agreed.

“But Brett just has a unique energy. I’ve said this to other people, just such a…if there was ever anybody to defeat something it’s Brett Cooper, because he’s more positive than the rest of us put together,” said Heckathorn.

Cooper said he has his good days an his bad days, but he always turns to things he loves to lift his spirits.

“Music is one of them. Play some music. You know, listen to some music. Sing really loud whether my family wants me to or not. 80’s music, I love 80’s music. I love 90’s country. So a lot of those are definitely the ways to do it,” Cooper smiled.

Cooper said that he’s been overwhelmed by the support he has received.

“It’s just, it’…that’s probably what helped me be very positive with my attitude, is just knowing that I have a family that cares about me at home and I also have a family that cares about me at work,” he said.

If you would like to purchase a Cooper Rocks t-shirt to help raise money for Relay for Life just CLICK HERE.

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