Our local hero

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Our local hero

Gabby Demidovich and Brianna Dunlap

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Greg Cooper is Canfield High School’s long-time athletic director. You might see him at sporting events such as football and basketball games, however the impact he has on students goes much further than that.

Cooper is consistently conversing with students, leaving them with a positive start to their day. When Cooper was diagnosed with non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, it broke the hearts of many, especially for basketball player and track thrower Jillian Mt. Castle.

“It was hard to watch Mr. Cooper struggle everyday. He really takes the time to build personal connections with each student, which we don’t forget,” she said.

Students can agree that watching Mr. Cooper struggle was extremely hard. However since the surgery was a success, we all are consumed with anticipation to see him on his feet again.

Cooper has had an impact on many more people than just his Canfield family. Having been a Naval Captain for many years, leadership was a special quality he was able to bring to Canfield.

Although the majority of students know Cooper had the surgery, not many know what went into the process. The liver is vitale in removing bacteria/toxins from the blood, preventing infection, and regulating immune responses. So, this surgery was crucial for him.

First, Cooper had to find a donor that contained a blood type that was compatible to his for the surgery to even happen. He was very fortunate to find a compatible donor right here in Canfield!  A wrestling coach, Dave Crawford, donated 65% of his liver to Cooper.

“I was surprised, first of all, that he ended up going to the tremendous sacrifice of volunteering to be tested. He was chosen as an example of a perfect donor for me. I was very appreciative of that. I was gratified that him and his family would be willing to make that sacrifice,” Cooper said.

The next step was surgery.

The surgery began with the surgeon removing a portion of the healthy liver from Crawford. The next surgery involved placing the donors liver into the patient and had to be done before 12-16 hours, as the liver can only be out of a human body maximum in that time frame. The surgeon then went to work on Cooper by removing the infected area and replacing it with the healthy portion. The process consisted of connecting blood vessels and bile ducts to the new liver.

Although Cooper has had a life altering experience, throughout the process he remained strong and never once let his personal life affect his attitude towards each day. That type of strength radiates from him to the students and is inspirational. From the student body to the entirety of the community as well, we thank him for all that he has done and continues to do for the students of Canfield. 

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