Archive for Wednesday, September 22, 2004

6-year-old loses fight with rare cancer

September 22, 2004


A 6-year-old Lawrence girl's battle with a brain tumor ended Tuesday when she died.

Paulina Cooper slipped into a coma during the afternoon and then died, according to April Ramos, Lawrence, a friend of the girl's parents, Ann and James Cooper.

Ramos kept friends and acquaintances of the Coopers' informed by e-mail of Paulina's condition in recent weeks.

"She touched so many people's lives and increased so many people's faiths," Ramos said.

Paulina suffered from a rare, inoperable tumor in her brain stem. It was discovered in August 2003 after the girls' parents noticed that she had been falling down more often than usual and was having trouble hearing.

"It's called an intrinsic pontine glioma; it's rare," Paulina's mother, Ann Cooper, said in an interview in August. "Only about 200 tumors a year of this type are diagnosed in children."

Paulina underwent a series of radiation treatments that reduced the tumor by 80 percent, but the tumor grew back.

More recently she had undergone experimental chemotherapy at Children's Memorial Hospital in Chicago, but it was unable to defeat the tumor.

Several days ago her parents concentrated on making her last days as comfortable as possible, Ramos said.

"She was even shopping for books yesterday (Monday)" Ramos said. "Her mother said she never heard her complain about the pain."

In the August interview, Ann Cooper said she and her husband believed Paulina understood the seriousness of her condition.

"She talks about life after death, and she'll say I can't wait to get to heaven to sit on God's lap," Ann Cooper said.

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