Winamac High School
November 15th, 2012
6:39 PM EST, November 15, 2012
You won't find a bigger Winamac football fan than six-year-old Cooper Fulmer.
Cooper's big brother Gavin is the Warrior's starting right tackle.
But on the biggest night for Winamac in 12 years, their biggest fan wasn't there.
"He never acted like a six-year-old boy should act," Cooper's mom, Trina Fulmer said.
"He never wanted to go outside to play anymore," said his father, Steve Fulmer.
Three weeks earlier -- two days before the start of sectionals -- a doctor told Gavin and Cooper's parents the kind of news parents should never hear.
"He told us it was leukemia," Steve recalled.
It was a Wednesday Gavin will never forget. The next day is one he'll always remember.
"Me and one of my really close friends, we went first," Gavin said.
To support Cooper, they shaved their heads, right there in the school cafeteria.
Then another teammate joined in.
By the end of the night, the entire team was bald.
"I was surprised with a couple of them," Gavin said, "because they really love their hair."
"It was awesome," Trina said. "Those boys are something."
"I just thought if we shaved our heads if he lost his hair, it'd help him get through the process, make him stronger," Gavin said.
He never counted on Cooper helping the team in return. But that's exactly what happened.
"That Friday -- two days later -- they started chemo," Trina said. The same day the Warriors started sectionals.
"I just kept getting on the guys," Gavin said. "For Cooper, for Cooper -- let's do this."
They won their sectional opener 40-15, as Cooper listened on the radio from his hospital bed.
The next Friday morning, Cooper went in for his second chemo treatment. And later that night, listened as Winamac won again.
That set up a showdown with West Central in the sectional championship -- a team that beat the Warriors 49-7 just six weeks earlier. This time, Winamac won 49-13, for its first sectional title in 12 years.
"I think he kind of helped us out with that, Cooper did," Gavin said. "Inspired us to do something amazing."
Amazing is the same word they'd use to describe Cooper's progress.
"He's responded wonderful to the treatment," Trina said.
"Last night was the first night I didn't sweat the bed!" Cooper proclaimed.
Cooper goes in for another round of tests Friday. Next week, they're hopeful that the doctors will say he's in remission.
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