Industry rallies for Coops

Andrew ‘Coops’ Cooper, a truck driver for over two decades based out of Albury-Wodonga, is currently battling osteosarcoma (a type of bone cancer), and a benefit day has been planned for late January to help out Coops and his young family.

With such tumultuous times we have all experienced over the last two years it is gratifying to see that the Australian way of helping out a mate is alive and well.

In late 2020, Coops first started experiencing pain in his left arm, with investigations revealing a large tumour had developed between his elbow and shoulder. 

Andrew and Hoang Cooper with kids Liam, Harry and Jack.

Following an unsuccessful round of chemotherapy at St Vincent’s Hospital in Melbourne, unfortunately the arm had to be amputated at the shoulder in February 2021. With the arm being removed at the shoulder blade, it has not been possible to fit a prosthetic arm. Since then he has undergone further treatment in Melbourne at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Treatment Centre, including further courses of chemotherapy.

At the time of his cancer being discovered, Coops was working full time driving a log truck in the local area, and as such has not been able to work since and support his family including wife Hoang and their three young boys, Liam, Harry and Jack. 

A group of truck-driving mates have banded together to help out with the ‘Coming Together for Coops’ benefit day set to take place on January 22 at the Kinross Woolshed Hotel at Thurgoona.

Initially planned to have taken place in October 2021, the event fell victim to Covid but the planning team has put together a package of events and entertainment which will provide something for the whole family. 

The large open area at the rear of the hotel lends itself well to staging the event, as group spokesperson Peter Fruend detailed, “We will have a car show with the Twin City Car Club, we have live music with three bands through the day both inside and out on the trailer, raffles and so forth going on during the day, jumping castles and water slides, face painting for the kids…so all in all, it will be  a great family day.”

One of the major initiatives planned will be an auction of goods and services with support coming from far and wide.

“We will have sporting memorabilia, a variety of vouchers, from $50 restaurant vouchers up to a $1500 voucher from Bandag, we have an accommodation package from over the coast at Kiama, 12 Volt car fridges, hamper packs, CAT die-cast models, there is something there for everyone,” said Fruend.

“A lot of it caters for transport, as that’s what we are about and is from those who have helped us out, but there’s a lot of stuff there for those who aren’t involved in transport.”

Andrew Cooper, centre, with some of the ‘Coming Together for Coops’ team at the Kinross Woolshed- (l-r) Chris McDonald, Craig Theoharidis, Peter Fruend, Clint Lieschke and Andrew Twitt. Photos: David Vile

The organising team has also been overwhelmed with support, among those to help by way of a cash donation and goods for the auction came from Danyelle and Anthony Haigh of Murranji Water Drilling (and Outback Truckers TV fame). 

“We’ve had support from the local area and around the country including Lieschkes, Dawsons, Churchills and ERH Refrigerated Transport, there’s been a lot of companies throwing money in, and a lot of them weren’t even approached, it’s been great to see the goodwill of a lot of people,” added Fruend.

The money raised from a 2021 raffle also has the trust account that has been set up for the family off to a solid start.

At this stage Coops is looking at ongoing medical management into next year, so needless to say, all money raised at the January 22 event will help him and this family along as he tackles the next phase of treatment. 

“We’re just a group of mates helping out a mate…everything on the day is going to Coops’ trust fund and (the event) is for the family – it’s a family day to help out his family,” Fruend concluded. 

For further information about the day, or to make a donation, contact Peter Fruend on 0459 674 166, or click here.

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