Elizabeth Adams

Small Gifts from the Cathy Coop Fund are Big Blessings for Women Battling Ovarian Cancer

Published: Aug 4, 2014

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Aug. 4, 2014) — Seated behind curtains at a chemotherapy chair, Nellie Smith cross-stitches a pattern to pass the hours at the University of Kentucky Markey Cancer Center. She reads the numbers from a platelet count report as a nurse checks her blood pressure. Known as a "talker" by the clinic's staff, Smith chuckles as she admits to confusing the names of her dogs and her children.

 

Chemotherapy treatments have fought back Smith's peritoneal cancer for three years, but the 51-year-old thinks laughter is the better medicine. She prays that this session will be the one that takes her into remission.

 

"I told the doctor, I'm not a jug of milk," Smith said. "I don't expire and I don't have a shelf life."

 

Smith's cancer diagnosis was an added hardship for an Ashland, Kentucky, family already overburdened with health and financial troubles. Smith is the caretaker for her husband Patrick, who suffers from complications caused by diabetes. With fatigue from chemotherapy and aching legs, Smith has struggled for two years getting her husband in and out of their home.

 

After receiving a chemotherapy treatment this summer, clinical technician Kayla Conley at the UK Gynecological (GYN) Oncology Clinic handed Smith an envelope and told her about a woman named Cathy Coop. Coop, who passed away in January, was diagnosed with the same rare form of peritoneal ovarian cancer as Smith. When Smith opened the envelope on her way home, she found $1,000 inside.

 

"I was in shock for a little bit," Smith said of receiving the gift from the Cathy Wolterman Coop Patient and Family Support Fund.

 

Smith used the money to build a ramp for her house. She also bought groceries and replaced a section of her floors that were damaged by a water leak. 

 

"It's taken a lot of the load off of us," Smith said of the gift. "It came right in time — it was a true blessing for us."

 

During her four-year battle with cancer, Cathy Wolterman Coop was concerned for other women in the GYN Oncology Clinic who didn't have financial security or insurance benefits during cancer treatment. The Cathy Wolterman Coop Patient and Family Support Fund helps patients pay for transportation, groceries, bills and other necessities while receiving treatment for ovarian cancer. Gifts are given at the discretion of staff members at the GYN Oncology Clinic in set amounts for a specific, expressed need.

 

Coop, an active baseball and Pep Club mom and former respiratory therapist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital who lived in Lexington, was diagnosed with terminal cancer in 2010. Coop's family said she showed incredible determination during her fight with late-stage peritoneal cancer. As she was receiving chemotherapy treatments, Coop thought many of her fellow patients, who were financially stressed and traveling long distances for treatment, had it worse than she did. Her husband Brent Coop said his late wife, who grew up in a family full of medical professionals, was the first person on her feet to respond to the needs of others.

 

"Cathy was all about helping out other people," Brent Coop said. "She ran into some people at the hospital. She always thought that it was tougher on other people's families, and she could see it first-hand."

 

In December 2013, as Coop was nearing the end of her life, the family coordinated a memorial fund, which was presented as a surprise to Coop on her birthday. Coop's sister Karen Van Zile said Coop insisted that 100 percent of the funds go directly to cancer patients in the GYN Oncology Clinic. Funds were raised before and after Coop's death in lieu of flowers for the family. She passed away at the age of 54 in early January.

 

"She had a spirit — she was strong-willed with a generous heart," Van Zile said.

 

Ovarian cancer patient Delora Wolf drives 100 miles from her home in Girdler, Kentucky, for chemo treatments at UK. Initially diagnosed 13 years ago, Wolf said her relapse with cancer has impacted her family's financial situation. She recently drove to a chemotherapy appointment with wires poking through her tires because she couldn't afford to have them replaced. She received $300 from the Cathy Coop fund to purchase a set of tires that would allow her to safely drive to treatments.  

 

"I just feel like God has a way of working things out for people," Wolf said. "And I feel like God sent a blessing to me from an angel, and that angel was Cathy."   

 

Wolf also received a wig from the clinic that belonged to Coop. She was feeling uncomfortable wearing wigs until the clinic staff presented her with Coop's former wig. Even though she never knew Coop, Wolf senses a connection to her by wearing it.

 

"Now that I know she had it too, it makes it special," Wolf said. "It's kind of like a bond."

 

Brent Coop hopes the memorial fund will continue to grow and provide small gestures of kindness to more women at the clinic. He said his wife would be pleased and humbled to know how her fund is making a difference in the lives of patients.

 

"It's exactly what she would have wanted," Brent Coop said. "She is going to be around a long time. She was a person you always knew was in the room — she laughed a lot at other people's jokes; she was larger than life when she was around. Now that she's gone, it's pretty fitting that she's still around."

 

Contributions can be made to the Cathy Wolterman Coop Patient and Family Support Fund by mail to The Markey Cancer Center, 800 Rose Street, CC160, 40536-0093. Donations are also accepted online at markeycancerfoundation.org. Click on "donate now" and indicate the contribution is a gift to the Cathy Coop Fund in the comments section. 

nellie_see_compassion.jpgcathy_coop_1.jpg
October
 
 
 
1
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: Dallas Buyers Club
College of Law Welcomes Trevor Potter
Wed
2
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Notes on Marie Menken
LNFS Presents: Edge of Tomorrow
UK Jazz Ensemble/ UK Lab Band
Earth & Environmental Science Student Open House
"Nerd Night" Exhibit and Concert
"Anne Braden: Southern Patriot" Film Screening and Discussion
Thu
3
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: My Neighbor Totoro
LNFS Presents: (500) Days of Summer
Men's Soccer vs. Old Dominion
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Alabama
Fri
4
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. South Carolina
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Rock Climbing @ Red River Gorge
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
Swing Dancing!
Sat
5
Dancing at Lughnasa
Cross Cultural Workshop 2014
UK Children's Hospital/Birthing Center Annual Perinatal Loss "Walk To Remember"
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Texas A&M
Sun
6
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Resumes and Cover Letters
Mon
7
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
Networking and Job Search
UK Choristers
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Stillness in Motion: The Essence of Symmetry - presented by Dr. Carl Lee, Mathematics
Tue
8
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Night of the Living Dead
UK Law Day
Wed
9
Dancing at Lughnasa
Murals of Baltimore
LNFS Presents: Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
Mark Berry, Guest Percussion Recital
National Depression Screening Day
LNFS Presents: Torch Song Trilogy
Thu
10
Dancing at Lughnasa
LNFS Presents: Shut Up and Play the Hits
LNFS Presents: Watchmen
KLJ Data Privacy Symposium
Family Weekend Check-in
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #1
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. South Carolina
Family Weekend: Derek Hughes
Fri
11
Dancing at Lughnasa
Kentucky Football vs. ULM
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
UK International Tent/ Tailgate Party
CT Surgery Symposium: Advances in the Surgical Management of Cardiothoracic Diseases:
Family Weekend Tent Party
Sat
12
Dancing at Lughnasa
DNT 101: A Taste of the Kentucky Doughnut Trail
Big Blue Pantry Food Drive #2
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Auburn
Sunday Lunch at Historic Spindletop Hall
Men's Soccer vs. Marshall
Sun
13
 
Mon
14
Job Club - Social Media and Your Career
Massage on the Go
Tue
15
LNFS Presents: The Last Samurai
UK Symphony Band Concert
Women's Forum Conference 2014
#TrendingTopics: Pornography vs. Morality
Wed
16
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: The Tree of Life
LNFS Presents: Guardians of the Galaxy
UK Wind Symphony
Thu
17
LNFS Presents: Princess Mononoke
LNFS Presents: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Ole Miss
Berlin Philharmonic Wind Quintet
Fri
18
Paint the Town Blue
Free Kaplan Entrance Practice Exams
4th Annual Big Blue Soccer Tournament
Men's Soccer vs. New Mexico
Swing Dancing and Costumes?
Sat
19
Paint the Town Blue
UK Men's Chorus and acoUstiKats
Jazz Spectacular
UK Student Pajama Party
Kentucky Volleyball vs. LSU
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Florida
Sun
20
Paint the Town Blue
Midterm of 2014 Fall Semester
Returning to Work and Breastfeeding
Open Access Week Kickoff Event (Webcast)
Grad School 101
Royalty Showcase
Mon
21
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Preparing for Law School
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week: Grad School Panel: Surviving Your 1st Year
Film & Panel Discussion: Be Like Others
Graduate and Professional School Showcase
Your Publication, Your Choice: Choosing the Right Open Access Journal
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Graduate and Professional School Prep Week
Kitty Karnival
Tue
22
Study Tips for Medical School
LNFS Presents: Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
Thank-A-Donor Day
Campus Sustainability Day
Electronic Thesis and Dissertation Information Session
Getting Into Medical School
Wed
23
Writing a Winning Personal Statement
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Marimbas From Hell
LNFS Presents: The Fault in Our Stars
Generation Open: Researchers' Roles in the Age of Openness
Homecoming Street Fair
Thu
24
LNFS Presents: Kiki's Delivery Service
LNFS Presents: The Secret Life of Walter Mitty
"see blue." Day at Keeneland
Peanut Butter Drive
Pumpkin Carving Tournament
Fri
25
Kentucky Football vs. Mississippi State
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
26
UK Women's Choir and Paws and Listen
Bill Cooper Faculty Recital
Sun
27
UK Trumpet Ensemble
Undergraduate Research Information Session "How to Find A Mentor"
Mon
28
Job Club - How To Get A Job at UK: Updates on IES Applicant Tracking System
Common Reading Experience Author Lecture: Presenting Ishmael Beah
Tue
29
Internship Info Session
LNFS Presents: The Shining
Pinterest Party
Leadership Assessment
"see boo." Halloween Party
Society for the Promotion of Undergraduate Research (SPUR) Meeting
#UKEDTALKS: Design Thinking with Dr. John Nash
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Tennessee
Wed
30
Career Assessment Workshop
LNFS Presents: Lucy
Film Viewing and Discussion of The Other Boleyn Girl
LNFS Presents: Papirosen
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Alabama
Thu
31
LNFS Presents: ParaNorman
LNFS Presents: Carrie
All Hallow's Eve Concert (UK Symphony Orchestra)
Work-Life Retirement Conference
Fri
 
Oct 22
Study Tips for Medical School 10/22/2014

Wed, 10/22/2014

Thu, 10/23/2014

Reset Page