Winchester family shows Thanksgiving gratitude in the face of adversity


WINCHESTER, Ky. (WTVQ)- Many show their gratitude on Thanksgiving by giving to those in need. In Winchester Thursday, dozens of families gathered to deliver about 1,300 turkey meals to their neighbors. One of those families had every excuse not to help others this holiday.

For almost 50 years people from Winchester and beyond have gathered at First United Methodist on Thanksgiving.

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It might look like they are preparing meals for themselves. They are not. They deliver meals around the whole county.

In just an hour and a half volunteers make their way through the food line as fast as they can, preparing meals for delivery.

It is noisy and there are a lot of smiles, but upstairs in the sanctuary it is quieter.

Hunter Cooper and his family are volunteering too for the fourth year, but this year, they cannot be downstairs with everyone else.

“I just recently turned 13 and, before I got leukemia, I was a soccer player,” Cooper said.

Cancer. Hunter was diagnosed with an aggressive form of leukemia this summer. It has compromised his immune system so he cannot be in big crowds like the one downstairs.

“It’s different,” Hunter said.

His family’s whole life is different, and will be for the next three and a half years at least.

“Shocking, you know, at first it was just really shocking. You never think that’s going to be part of your story. You never think your healthy child is going to have to go through something like that,” Amy Cooper, Hunter’s Mom, said.

She says 40 years ago a kid with her son’s cancer was given three months to live. Now, there is a 90% cure rate.

Even in the face of adversity, this family is grateful and, when many others probably would have just stayed home, they are out giving back.

“We knew we wanted to participate in some way even if we could not do all the things we normally do,” Amy Cooper said.

Back in the church kitchen, a close family friend is blown away.

“I don’t know what I would do. I would only hope I could be as strong as they’ve been and I don’t know that I could,” Keith Roberts said.

The Coopers do not talk much about their strength, though. Instead, they focus on the gratitude motivating them to give even through unimaginable pain.

“God’s blessed us just so much and I just want to try to bless others,” Hunter Cooper said.