On a rainy day in August, Cooper White walked into Mount Sinai Hospital like a ray of sunshine, holding an envelope full of money that he couldn’t wait to give away. That may not sound like your typical 12-year-old boy, but Cooper is anything but typical.
Cooper White, presenting his cheque to Mount Sinai’s NICU.
He may well be on his way to becoming the longest-standing donor in Mount Sinai’s history. At only 12 years of age, he has donated $500 each year for the past five years to the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU).
Twelve years ago this July, Cooper was born at only 31 weeks to parents Cathy and David. Weighing only 2.5 lbs, he was cared for in Mount Sinai’s NICU for several weeks while his family travelled back and forth from Burlington to Toronto.
Unlike many young boys his age (he started giving when he was just eight!), every year, Cooper foregoes birthday gifts in lieu of donations to Mount Sinai’s NICU. This year, he even gave $75 of his own money.
For Cooper, it’s a no-brainer. “They take such good care of babies here. I want to make sure that keeps happening,” he says.
This year, Cooper, his brother Wyatt and his mom Cathy got a tour of the brand new, state-of-the-art David & Stacey Cynamon Mother & Baby Unit from Julie Tagi, the Nursing Unit Administrator and, incredibly – one of Cooper’s nurses 12 years ago. Julie explained to Cooper that the design of the new unit was intended to be a calming and soothing environment for babies who need to rest and get stronger.
Julie had very kind words for Cooper. “We are so honoured that you would come back and donate to the little tiny babies who are just like you were way back then,” she said. “That you keep doing it year after year is really special to us.”
Cooper was beaming with pride as he presented his donation to Julie. Though he left shortly after to head home in the rain to Burlington with his family, the ray of sunshine he brought with him never left the building.