Boy with Type 1 diabetes fights to raise awareness

Cooper and the Sugar Squad
(Source: Kelly Flye)
(Source: Kelly Flye)
(Source: Kelly Flye)
(Source: Kelly Flye)

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - JDRF is an organization that fights for a world without Type 1 diabetes and one Jonesboro 3rd grader, who was diagnosed with the disease December 22, 2015, is doing everything he can to raise money and awareness.

Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that creates a constant worry of life-threatening complications.

Cooper Flye, an 8-year old International Studies Magnet School student, has made it his duty to stay positive through his battle against the disease.

Lillian Smith is a nurse at International Studies Magnet School and she sees Cooper on a daily basis.

Smith said Cooper is a smiley outgoing boy who's always ready to educate his classmates on Type 1 diabetes.

"He brings his bear they gave him at Children's Hospital and shows them where he gets his injections on the bear," said Smith. "He just became the little teacher in his classroom."

When Cooper was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes, he said he was worried.

"I just, you know, really didn't want things to change," said Cooper.

Unfortunately, things did change for Cooper. Having to watch what he eats more carefully and having to have at least four shots of insulin every day are just a couple of the changes he has had to make over the past few months.

"You know we were watching a movie one day that was based on a dream and he said, you know I wish diabetes was a dream and I didn't have it," said Jesse Flye, Cooper's father.

According to his parents, that was the only negative comment he has ever made since his diagnosis. They say since then, Cooper has always had a smile on his face.

"This never slowed him down," said Kelly Flye, Cooper's mother. "When we were in the hospital, the thing that stuck us the most is that he drew a picture of sunshine and flowers and a rainbow."

That picture, that is now framed, hangs on their wall at home representing a sense of hope Cooper has for a cure that will save others out there who are in his shoes.

"If he doesn't get back to normal I know he wants for a kid to not experience what he has to go through on an everyday life," said Jesse.

Now the Flyes are raising awareness about Type 1 diabetes through a team page on the JDRF website called Captain Cooper and the Sugar Squad.

"I think just doing this will make people more aware of what kids like Coop have to go through," said Jesse. "I had no idea. It's something that people need to know just to have a support group for families that do have to go through this."

Through it all, Cooper encourages those affected by Type 1 diabetes to always stay strong.

"Just do not worry about it and just, you know, do what you would do before you had diabetes," said Cooper.

With a goal to raise awareness and funds for a cure for Type 1 diabetes, the family will give all the money donated to Cooper's team page, which is nearly $3,000, back to the JDRF organization.

In addition to raising money for a cure, Cooper is asking everyone to join him in the annual JDRF walk that will be held in North Little Rock October 2.

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