A NINE-year-old who battled terminal cancer long enough so he could name his baby sister told his parents shortly before he died: ‘You can only cry for twenty minutes’.
Brave Bailey Cooper battled the disease for 15 months and was determined to keep fighting until his new sibling arrived.
Mum Rachel, 28, gave birth in November and Bailey named her Millie.
Tragically, Bailey lost his fight with the disease on Christmas Eve and his proud mum and dad Lee said he smiled all the way through his treatment.
Rachel said: ‘We didn’t think he would last that long, but he was determined to meet Millie.
‘It got to the end of November, and Millie was born. He hugged her and did everything an older brother would do — change her, wash her, sing to her.’
Bailey’s dad Lee, 30, added: ‘Doctors said he was going to go before Millie was born.
‘He didn’t. He fought, and on the way to hospital, he said we should call her Millie.
‘But the moment after he met her, he began to taper off quickly. He was slipping away.’
The family knew Bailey was unlikely to survive to celebrate Christmas but encouraged him to write a list of gifts he would like.
But the unselfish youngster drew up a list of presents for his younger brother, Riley, six, knowing he wouldn’t get the chance to play with them himself.
When his grandmother said she wished he could take his place, Bailey told her: ‘That is really selfish Nan. You have grandchildren to take care of.’
And in their last family get-together the youngster told his parents: ‘You’re only allowed to cry for 20 minutes. You have to take care of Riley and Millie.’
Bailey first became ill in the summer of 2016, and after a series of tests was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin Lymphoma, which develops in the network of vessels and glands in the body.
By the time it was discovered, it was already in Stage Three.
Doctors treated the cancer with chemotherapy and steroid medication and were optimistic the youngster would recover.
But, after a period of remission, Lee and Rachel were handed the devastated blow their son had gone into relapse and no more could be done.
After being taken to a hospice on December 22, Bailey’s family gathered by his bedside and read him stories to keep him company.
‘By 11.45am on Christmas Eve, we were by his bedside, mum Rachel said.
‘We knew it was not going to be long. We told him “It’s time to go Bailey. Stop.”‘
‘The moment we said “stop”, he took his last breath and had just the one tear come out of his eye. It was peaceful.’