Quincy University freshman football player Cooper Harrison has been selected as a candidate for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s (LLS) 2015 Student of the Year.
Harrison, a defensive back on the QU football team, was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia at age 7 and survived the disease after more than two years of chemotherapy treatment and bone marrow biopsies.
Now Harrison is sharing his story, in conjunction with the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, in order to raise funds that will help the organization continue research efforts, as well as help families going through treatment in need of financial assistance.
“I am very thankful to be where I am today,” said Harrison. “The gift of life is truly a blessing to me. I am blessed with the opportunity to play college football, and now I want to give young kids that have this disease hope that they can also pursue their dreams.
Harrison’s goal in the Student of the Year campaign is to raise $20,000 for LLS in a 10-week period, beginning Feb. 25 through May 5.
“I would not be here today without medical advances made possible by research funded by organizations like LLS,” said Harrison. “While survival rates for individuals diagnosed with leukemia and lymphoma have improved, it isn’t good enough. In my lifetime, I want to see a cure. This campaign is my opportunity to contribute to this vision.”
To help Cooper kick off his campaign, the Quincy University athletic department will donate a portion of its gate receipts from Thursday’s regular season basketball finale against Truman State to his campaign. Harrison and the department will also be sponsoring a Chuck-a-Duck promotion during halftime of the men’s basketball game to raise additional funds for LLS.
Harrison has worked with LLS for more than a year, helping the organization’s Gateway chapter with outreach efforts in the St. Louis area, including visiting local grade and high schools to share his story and the goals of LLS.
Should Harrison be named the LLS 2015 Student of the Year, he would be awarded a scholarship to go toward his Quincy University education. Every dollar raised in the next 10 weeks toward his campaign is a vote for him in the contest, and another dollar raised in the fight against blood cancer.
According to LLS, the five-year relative survival rate for leukemia is 60 percent, up from 34 percent from 1975-77. Last year alone, the organization invested approximately $70 million in research efforts.
To make a tax-deductible contribution to Harrison’s campaign beginning Thursday, Feb. 25, please go to Cooper’s campaign website. Information about additional ways to help, including becoming an official sponsor for the campaign, can also be found on that website.