Family dealing with hardships hopes for holiday blessings

Family dealing with hardships hopes for holiday blessings
The Cooper family is determined to persevere after several setbacks. (Source: Audrey Cooper)

MILILANI, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - An Oahu family trying to persevere in the face of adversity is hoping for some Christmas cheer.

Meet HNN’s final profile in the annual Adopt-a-Family series.

Last November, life changed in an instant when Robert Cooper was riding his motorcycle home.

“I was about two blocks away from home and I got hit by a red truck,” recalled the Mililani resident. “I had 29 stitches in my head and a scar from here (pointing to head), all the way back, a broken ankle, and then my shoulder, my shoulder was messed up.”

Paramedics took him to the Queen's Medical Center.

There was more bad news in store for the family.

“When they rushed him to Queen’s, he had a full body scan, and from there they found something in his kidney,” said his wife, Audrey.

Doctors discovered Robert had Stage II kidney cancer.

He had to take off time from work to recover from his crash injuries and the surgery to remove his tumor.

Robert ended up losing his job, while the bills kept piling up.

“Life can get crazy and we’re just taking it step by step,” said Audrey.

She was a stay-at-home mom because she was homeschooling their oldest son who has a rare immunodeficiency disorder.

Audrey recently got a job, but money is still tight with Robert out of work.

“He has gone to job fairs. He has called other companies and he’s really on the ball,” said Sharon Spencer, a social worker for Liliuokalani Trust. “Even if he has to get a new skill, Robert is willing to do that.”

For their wish items on the Adopt-a-Family application, the family listed "any gift."

When pressed for specifics, the Coopers said their kids -- Lopaka, Lokahi, and Kamalii -- enjoy reading books and playing Xbox video games.

They also mentioned that having a laptop would be a huge help.

"My children, they do their internet homework at school. They can't do it at home," explained Audrey.

Despite their challenges, the Coopers are still inspiring others with their kindness.

During a meeting at a McDonald's restaurant, their case worker watched Robert buy a meal for a homeless man.

"He goes, 'Aunty, I couldn't bear that that young man didn't have any food.' And I thought to myself, 'Oh my goodness,'" said Spencer. "Then I heard Audrey say, 'Did you use our last $10?' and he went 'Yes.' And I thought, 'How wonderful.'"

The family will be grateful for any blessings they receive this holiday season.

To adopt the Cooper ohana (case number LT-WIN-11), or any of the families featured this Christmas season, call Helping Hands Hawaii at 440-3800.

For more information about the Adopt-A-Family program, click here.

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