Eight-Year-Old Cooper Fills the Shoes of a HERO Through His “Fill the Wagon” Initiative

Cooper photo

Cooper was diagnosed with cerebral palsy at 9 months old. The condition resulted in complete paralysis on his right side, known as hemiplegia. Now 8 years old, Cooper has undergone medical procedures while under anesthesia to help improve his condition and had several rounds of Botox for spasticity in both his right arm and right leg. A cast was put on this right leg for 10 weeks, getting changed every two weeks, to stretch the muscle and help with his foot placement. He does at home stretches and muscle building activities, and uses an e-stim unit nightly, to help stimulate the muscles in his right leg.


Cooper doesn’t want to be seen as “different” … but there’s one thing about Cooper that IS different! It’s that undeniable spirit of giving, focusing his ambition on others instead of himself. Cooper was described by Shriners Hospitals for Children – Twin Cities as “bright and determined to succeed”. Well, succeed he did!

Cooper’s mom, Dawn explains, “He came up with the idea to start a toy drive to ‘Fill the Wagon’. He has always loved to share, and finds excitement in seeing what the big red wagon at Twin Cities [Shriners Hospitals for Children] has to offer. He thought if he took toys there, he could see the same excitement on the other patients’ faces when they choose a toy he brought. Never in a million years did we anticipate the amount we were able to bring.”

Cooper Stiles-r - first name

Kids Wish Network became aware of Cooper when he was nominated for Hero of the Month by Shriners Hospitals for Children – Twin Cities. Through the Hero of the Month program, Kids Wish Network recognizes and honors children across the nation who shows exemplary courage and bravery while experiencing adverse circumstances.

Cooper is defined not by his circumstances, but by “always giving 110%”, as stated by his nominator at Shriners Hospitals for Children – Twin Cities, where a red wagon sits at the entrance, filled with free toys to help alleviate children’s fears and anxiety.

Cooper’s mom tells us: A Facebook page was started for Cooper, with an appeal for NEW toys for girls and boys, to be taken to the Shriners Hospital. “The event was called Fill the Wagon,” said Dawn. Another request was for pop tabs, for the women’s auxiliary group.

Year before

Dawn continued, “Most of our in-town friends saved pop tabs and many donated toys to take.” Cooper asked his school principal to post the requests in the school’s weekly newsletter. He took containers to school with his photo on them. They found that the pop tabs helped the women’s auxiliary as much as the toys helped the children because they were able to use them to purchase needed items. Cooper’s toy drive resulted in approximately 100 new toys for girls and boys and 32 POUNDS of pop tabs!

Kids Wish Network thinks Cooper is definitely different … but in the best way possible. He is a HERO! Cooper is currently collecting pop tabs and has chosen to use the gift card presented to him by Kids Wish Network as part of his Hero of the Month honor to purchase MORE toys to donate to Shriners Hospitals for Children- Twin Cities to “Fill the Wagon”! He is considering making this a yearly event. We can hardly wait to hear about Cooper’s next success!


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