The Ride of his Life
For anyone meeting 7 year old Cooper Whale for the first time, they’d never guess he was born with a broken heart.
This motorbike mad young Feilding boy was born with a condition called Tetralogy of Fallot and has just undergone his third major heart surgery. Tetralogy of Fallot is a combination of four different heart defects and usually requires multiple surgeries.
Doctors told Cooper’s parents they could either wrap him up in cotton wool or let him live his life. They were advised that young Cooper should avoid contact sport.
So, what does a young boy, brought up on a farm with three older brothers do but learn to ride a motorbike. Cooper’s mum, Heidi says at times, watching young Cooper tear around a motor-cross circuit makes her nervous. “Sometimes I find it hard to watch, but there is no way I can stop him, and I don’t want to.”
Already the plucky 7yr old has big aspirations, he wants to be the next Levi Sherwood. Sherwood is New Zealand’s top freestyle motor-cross rider and has performed around the world with the Crusty Demons and Nitro Circus.
Cooper has just had his third operation in Auckland and his school Mt Biggs is clearly missing him. So much so all the kids at the 80 pupil school wrote him letters wishing him well.
Mum Heidi says even three of the girls and a boy wrote that they LOVED him. ‘Cooper found that a bit awkward, but secretly I think he was quite touched.” He even had a visit from one of his teachers.
“It just shows the beauty of small country schools, and it was one the reasons we chose Mt Biggs, because of its size and the fact that everyone would be aware of Cooper’s condition.”
Cooper is now taking time to recuperate at home, but Heidi says it won’t be long before he is back on his bike tearing up the turf.