Who is amy? was formed in 2006 by Mike Cooper's daughters; Becca, Shelley and Sarah and their good friend Michele Wilson. Starting in 2001, Mike Cooper's health began to deteriorate. Mike was extremely active, an avid skier and hiker, but out of nowhere started to feel exhaustingly weak. Suddenly, Mike had little to no energy and by 2003 could barely make it up a flight of stairs without wheezing, pausing, and pain. He had other strange symptoms such as a blood-type rash on his face and body, trigger finger and weight gain as a result of fluid in his lungs. The process was unimaginable. Mike went from doctor to doctor and was told that he had heart problems. However, none of the typical treatment plans for heart disease were effective and no exam would show accurate results. Finally, Mike was hospitalized and an emergency heart biopsy concluded that Mike had a rare, incurable blood disease called amyloidosis. Only a difficult and risky bone marrow transplant could prolong his life.
Mike was treated with a peripheral stem cell transplant, in which his doctors collected his own stem cells, gave him a life-threatening dose of chemotherapy in order to rid his body of amyloid-damaged cells, then transplanted his own cells back into his bone-marrow. The process is extremely risky and the recovery lengthy. Mike was subject to two autologous stem cell transplants (2003 and again 2006), chemotherapy, medication, hospitalization and a quarantined recovery.
Mike recovered for a beautiful and fulfilling 12 years and inspired other amyloidosis patients, family and friends. If he didn't take action immediately, his heart, organs, and body would have been overtaken by the disease within a few months. Mike passed away October 13, 2015. His legacy and strength for fighting this disease for so long will live on forever. He loved the outdoors, cooking, volunteering for the community, working as a successful attorney and fathering his three girls, Shelley, Sarah and Becca. He was also a great friend and advisor to many.
For most, limited knowledge or a late diagnosis may lead to irreversible damage on the body or ultimately, death. In response to Mike's arduous diagnosis and struggle, Becca, Shelley, Sarah and Michele were prompted to take action. They wanted to make it easier for others after encountering limited answers within the medical community concerning the dire situation.
As of yet, there is no cure for this terrifying disease.