Cooper Robb-Jackson has never let life’s obstacles slow him down.
The Currans Hill boy was born prematurely at just 26 weeks gestation, weighing 720 grams.
Cooper spent the next four months recovering in an intensive care unit at Randwick’s Royal Hospital for Women.
“It was a tough time for us, Cooper had all kinds of complications,” mum Shelley Robb said.
“We were told to say goodbye to him several times.
“But Cooper kept fighting, met all requirements and was sent home.”
However Robb said she noticed her son struggled with some body movements over the coming years, including getting up steps.
At four, Cooper was diagnosed with Cerebral Palsy Spastic Quadriplegia, a condition which affects both arms and legs.
“In some way, we were relieved when he was diagnosed because we finally knew what was going on,” Robb said.
Cooper spent the next few years undertaking intense physio and occupational therapy sessions to improve his moment.
Now 10, Cooper’s hard work has paid off after qualifying for the School Sport Australia 12 and Under Track and Field Championships in Melbourne later this month.
Robb said her son would represent NSW in the 200m and 800m running, and long jump events.
“Cooper will compete in the multi-class category, which is open for athletes with disabilities,” she said.
“We found out about multi-class last year and it’s huge for Cooper – it means he can compete on an even playing field.”
Cooper booked his spot at nationals with impressive performances at last week’s NSW Primary Schools Sports Association Athletics Championship in Sydney.
Highlights included securing a gold medal in the 800m event.
“The 800m is Cooper’s favourite discipline and I’ve never seen him happier than after he won gold,” Robb said.
Cooper trains twice a week under the guidance of his athletics coach David Forster in Camden.
Robb said she couldn’t be more proud of her son’s commitment to hard work.
“Cooper has a never give up motto and he certainly uses it,” she said.
The SSA Australia 12 and Under Track and Field Championships will be held at Melbourne’s Albert Park from November 23 to 27.
Robb said it will cost more than $3000 for herself and Cooper to attend the five-day event, which includes flights, accommodation and a competition levy.
Cooper’s family has set up a GoFundMe page to help the 10-year-old get to the national championships.
To make a donation, go to gofundme.com/coop039s-is-going-to-the-nationals.