January 7, 2016 5:02 pm
Updated: January 8, 2016 11:37 am

Firefighter battling cancer accepted for trial therapy in the U.S.


What a way to start the new year!

Bo Cooper, a Fort McMurray firefighter and former mixed martial arts (MMA) fighter, has just been told he’s been accepted for experimental therapy in the United States that could save his life.


Bo Cooper during his MMA days

Cooper, 26, is battling Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL).

The therapy is being offered at the National Institute of Health (NIH) in Bethesda, Maryland.

“Last night we received fantastic news,” wrote Rob Cooper, Bo’s dad on his Facebook page.

And what’s more, Cooper said the US government will be covering the lion’s share of the treatment’s cost.

“We are thankful beyond words that they would do this for our young Canadian son,” said Rob Cooper.

CAR T-Cell therapy is only offered in the US, and it’s extremely expensive, costing between $500,000 and $900,000.

The province said it would not cover the cost.

Bo Cooper’s helmet

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That prompted family and co-workers at the Fort McMurray Fire Department to start a gofundme page.

As of Jan. 7, it had raised more than $275,000.

The treatment, while promising, is experimental.

It involves extracting cells from a patient and modifying them to leukemia assassins.

The new cancer-killing cells are grown and then injected back into the patient.

Cooper’s father said if the treatment doesn’t work, they may have to consider “another option”.

Cooper underwent testing in Maryland over the holidays to ensure he’s a good candidate for the therapy.

Rob Cooper said his son is “excited and ready, he doesn’t seem afraid, but he never does.”

“Maybe because being Afraid is for the Frightened!”, he wrote.

WATCH: Trial therapy from U.S. likely last option for Alberta firefighter battling leukemia

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