Winchester teen finds a unique form of therapy to cope with cancer

WINCHESTER, Ky. (WKYT) -- On June 29, 2017 Hunter Cooper was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia.

"It's a cancer of the white blood cell so my immune system was pretty much always really low," explained Hunter. "So I couldn't see my friends much, I couldn't be in big crowds. Obviously chemo exhausts you, so a lot of times I was laying down, I lost a lot of muscle."

Hunter's diagnosis was a big change for hunter and his family. Hunter's mom Amy says her son went from being an active soccer player, running 3 miles a day to being mostly home bound and resting.

"So that's what led us to finding some other things to entertain ourselves while we were cooped up inside," said Amy.

One of the side effects of Hunter's chemo treatments helped him discover a new passion.

"My treatment has steroids in it," explained Hunter. "Not the type of steroids that make you stronger, instead it's the kind that take all your muscle and make you really hungry."

Turns out an increased appetite is normal for the type of treatment Hunter is receiving, but because patients are always hungry they run the risk of obesity.

"So we wanted to satiate that hunger that he had all the time but try to do it in a healthy way," said Amy. "And it gave us something to do!"

While he's made it through the toughest part, Hunter will be receiving treatment for the next 2 years. But with the support of his family, his beloved dog Maggie, and his new found passion for preparing good food, he's ready to face the challenge head-on.

"I would have never wished cancer upon me or anyone," explained Hunter. "But now that it has happened to me I would never take it away either. It's helped me grow spiritually and mentally and just changed my life for the better. It's changed my perspective on life you just wake up and appreciate every moment you're alive."

The National Children’s Cancer Society provided travel assistance to Hunter’s family during his treatment. Donations to the NCCS can be made here.