SYLACAUGA -- Friends and co-workers of a Coosa Valley Medical Center physician stricken with pancreatic cancer are planning a 5K run to raise funds to support him during his treatment.
Harold Cooley, who works in the hospital’s Emergency Department, underwent surgery last month to remove a tumor from his pancreas. He was at the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center in Houston earlier this week having follow-up tests and getting a plan for treatment.
“He’s feeling OK,” said his sister, Elizabeth Qualls of Hoover. “He’s doing well enough to tinker around the house, and he wants to get back to work.”
She said Cooley had symptoms he initially believed to be gallbladder trouble, but he quickly learned about his cancer.
He underwent a 10½-hour operation known as a Whipple procedure, in which the head of the pancreas is removed along with the duodenum, a portion of the common bile duct, gallbladder and sometimes part of the stomach, according to WebMD.
Qualls said the procedure is appropriate for only about a fifth of pancreatic cancer patients, those whose cancer has not spread.
“It’s a nasty disease. He’s fortunate that his case wasn’t’ as advanced as some people’s,” Qualls said.
Cooley will now start chemotherapy treatments, and will return to Texas at four-month intervals to monitor the progress of his treatment, his sister said.
Cooley is well regarded by his co-workers at CVMC.
“Dr. Cooley is not your everyday ER doctor, he’s our Superman,” according to Cause for Cooley, a blog created by friends and co-workers to post updates and show support for the physician. “He’s a man who witnesses to others daily by letting the light of Jesus shine through him. We have seen this man save, heal, mend and love others in ways no one else could. Now it’s our turn to show our love for him,” the blog says.
“Please continue to pray that the Great Physician holds and heals one of the greatest physicians He has ever created during this difficult time,” posed Jeanie Ogle, moderator of the blog.
Ogle said the fundraiser is to help Cooley’s family with expenses not covered by insurance, such as a hotel room for his wife while he’s being treated in Texas.
The 5K will be Saturday, June 28, at the CVMC Professional Office Building, across from the hospital, with registration beginning at 7 a.m. and the run starting at 8:30.
Cooley and several of his relatives plan to be there, his sister said.
Registration is $35, which will include a goodie bag and registration to win door prizes.
Registration can be done online at causeforcooley.blogspot.com or at Fort Williams Finance at 400 W. Fort Williams Street.
For more information, call Elizabeth Butts, 256-872-3979; Angel Scoggins, 256-404-0591; Felicia Green, 256-861-0145; or Jeanie Ogle, 256-267-5422.