While receiving treatment at Markey, Cathy Coop often told her husband, Brent, of the women she sat with during her chemotherapy, many of whom were driving themselves to and from treatments and working full time jobs to support their families and themselves, barely making ends meet. These women touched her heart, and she wanted so badly to somehow make their lives easier so they could focus on their health and recovery. On her final birthday in 2013, Cathy’s husband, Brent, along with friends and family, presented her with the gift of a legacy – a fund in her name that would support women like those who so profoundly touched Cathy’s heart. Benefitting patients in treatment for primary peritoneal and ovarian cancers, the Cathy Wolterman Coop Fund has raised $148,000 to date, thanks in large part to Brent’s continued and tireless efforts, with 100% of donations made to the fund going directly to support patients in need of financial assistance. Money from the Fund is used by recipients for everyday necessities like groceries, fuel cards, transportation to and from treatments, hotel rooms for family members, childcare, etc.
Brent's mission is to fulfill his late wife's desire to help make life easier for women battling cancer who did not have the luxury of financial stability that she had. By creating and continually working to promote and fund the Cathy Wolterman Coop Fund, women like those who so profoundly touched his wife's heart can worry less about their financial burdens and more on their treatment, health and families.
I believe the following quote from a patient who received assistance from the Cathy Wolterman Coop Fund answers this better than anyone else could: "Without the support of the Markey Cancer Center and the Cathy Coop Fund, I’m not sure I could have survived cancer,” said 58-year-old Dinah Griffin, who benefited from the Fund in 2016. “My medications were very expensive and the financial support I received not only relieved a financial burden, but gave me peace of mind that I could fight this disease because someone who had been through this before cared enough to help patients like me.”
The joy Brent gave to his wife, Cathy, in her final few weeks by creating this fund allowed her to truly rest in peace. Since then, he has done a remarkable job of engaging her family, friends and their community, offering them a meaningful and productive outlet for their grief through their support of this fund. He has helped them heal in ways that none of them - not even Brent himself - thought they could. Words cannot convey the respect I have for this man.
A $50,000 donation could literally change the lives of hundreds of people balancing their fight against cancer with dire financial straits. This fund has no overhead or operating costs, which means 100% of the money raised goes directly to those who need it most. Gifts given out by the Fund typically range between $50 and $300, a seemingly small amount of money that can make a monumental difference to these patients. Money from the Fund is used by recipients for everyday necessities like groceries, fuel cards, transportation to and from treatments, hotel rooms for family members, childcare, medical co-pays, etc.
Brent's story is truly the quintessential "lemons to lemonade" scenario. The grief of losing one's partner can be nothing short of debilitating. Brent found a way to not only bring joy to the final weeks of Cathy's life, but to find purpose for himself, their family & friends in their grief, allowing them to cope with their loss in a profoundly meaningful way.