Cassandra Rose Cooper is a model, photographer, social media and local influencer, who finds herself naturally connecting to people. Already raising awareness in everything she believes in, she never imagined that life would throw her family what felt like every challenge that would have her sharing scary and intimate moments that changed the trajectory of her purpose.
Today this family of six is thriving and healthy “strengthened through experience of trial and suffering”. Cassandra describes her husband as the rock of her family and her daughter took being a big sister to the highest level. Five years ago her youngest twin brothers were born very early at only 3 lbs 11 oz and 3 lbs 12 oz. Waiting for everyone to be home together, they also lived at the hospital and the doctors and nurses became their extended family. Both boys at that time could not come home together as the family learned that little Levi had developed Necrotizing Enterocolitis (NEC), thankfully caught early. Little Logan was born with multiple holes in his heart and fully healed on their own. Cassandra and her husband working and also taking care of each other was a huge challenge that was met with support. Cassandra to all of the nurses:
“I’ll never forget the attention to detail.
I’ll never forget watching you guys dart across the room when the monitors went off.
I’ll never forget the small talk.
I’ll never forget the encouragement to keep pumping even though I barely ever got to breastfeed.
I’ll never forget walking into the NICU looking for each one of you every day wondering who I’d get to see.
I’ll never forget the way you all fought hard to keep my boys in the same space when they were put on opposite sides of the room.
I’ll never forget the little rules you broke for me.
I’ll never forget you guys having my back and kicking visitors out when I was overwhelmed and just needed to cry alone.
I’ll never forget the morning Kristen and I both bought each other a chai tea latte.. and we ended up with 4 chai tea lattes.
I’ll never forget you guys teaching me how to put the wires and monitors on just so I could spend more time touching them.
I’ll never forget the way you handled my babies.
I’ll never forget the way you handled ME.
You guys are literally the best, most beautiful human beings on the planet. I can’t even begin to express how much I love and appreciate each one of you. Thank you for what you do every day.”
Only one year later and a year after experiencing symptoms, the next phone call from the doctor was for her. “You probably have thyroid cancer”. Instantly and instinctively she experienced one of her favorite quotes, “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only option”. In June 2019, Cassandra would have to get a full thyroidectomy. I never expected that a consistent flutter in my heart would turn out to be something so serious. I never expected a thyroidectomy would be my first surgery (besides getting two babies cut out of me, that counts, right?)”
Embracing her scar and with a clean body scan with no more signs of cancer, it felt impossible to celebrate while now her other son Lincoln was getting treated for B-Cell Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia. That’s right, little Lincoln got diagnosed with cancer on July 4th, 2020, a few weeks after his 4th birthday! Sometimes finding joy in things like going out for ice cream after chemo treatments helped celebrate the small victories that would pave the way forward. At that time she said “I think one of the hardest parts of dealing with childhood cancer is balancing it all. Our whole life stopped, but it didn’t. It’s been 5 weeks since Lincoln got diagnosed and managing time between siblings has been a huge challenge. Leia is the kindest, most gracious big sister on the face of this planet. She has been nothing but tender, loving and understanding but I see her struggling. I see her anxiety and I know when she asks to spend time with me it’s more emotionally backed than ever.
Yesterday Leia and I put on some matching dresses and went through the McDonald’s drive thru and to Walmart. It wasn’t planned, but it was enough!” The family also learned that Childhood cancer is only 4% of the research done for cancer due to lack of funding. What came out of this? “Astonishing generosity” from prayers from strangers and followers to support from an entire community of families going through similar struggles. How she spends her time now to let others know how “everything can be ok” is admirable and extraordinary. “When you heal, you move on with your life” and she wants to help others do the same instead of “desperately googling” the answers like she did.
“I currently sit on the board of a nonprofit organization called Camp Enchantment. We are a local camp dedicated to children who’ve had cancer in the past, or who currently have cancer. We are fully equipped with a medical staff capable of handling any situation these unique children might face during the week of camp.
I am on the committee for the biggest annual fundraiser Make A Wish NM that holds an event called Wine & Wishes. I filmed, directed and edited the entire social media marketing campaign (starring Lincoln) leading up to the 2023 gala. I had the unique opportunity to share our Wish story by taking the 300+ people in attendance through Lincoln’s cancer story frame by frame in a carefully curated video presentation.
I have held multiple fundraisers in person and on social media for a nonprofit organization called Cookies 4 Kids Cancer and have plans to accomplish more in the future.
I have used social media to organize countless hospital drops for Presbyterian Hospital Downtown including snacks for children to eat outside of cafeteria hours and toys and activities to make the hours and days more bearable.
I also lead and organize a huge Christmas present drive with the help of a local church. Together we brought every single child in Oncology at Presbyterian hospital downtown a Christmas present.
I work actively with the New Mexico Dream Center on fundraisers and raising awareness related to human trafficking. The NMDC is dedicated to serving women and children coming out of the darkness of sex trafficking.
I’ve worked on multiple projects with NMDC including taking on the role of table caption for their annual fundraiser event and using social media to furnish an entire home for a family exiting a trafficking situation”.
Cassandra and her family encourage you to reach out to local organizations like these if you can.
“So many people have reached out to talk to me, check on me and take care of me in every way. Not only my close friends and family but so many of you who don’t even know me personally have reached out to check on me (some even more than once lol) and it’s honestly blown my mind completely. I’ve never been so thankful for this platform in my life. I’ve made so many true friends and I’ve had the privilege of connecting with SO many people who are going through the exact same thing as me and it’s been an insane blessing. I will continue to share my story as it unfolds and if you’re going through the same thing I hope you’ll share yours with me too.
Please hear me when I say: THANK YOU.”