Kid Captain: Cooper Estenson

IOWA CITY, Iowa — In November 2021, Cooper Estenson became plagued with unusual nausea, frequent headaches, extreme fatigue, a pale complexion, and bruising on his body.

“I just wanted to lie on the couch and sleep,” Cooper adds. “I didn’t really have an appetite.”

The lack of appetite was particularly unusual and concerning for the parents of the active youngster, who had just finished a successful season of modified flag football.

“He was just very off, not himself and very pale,” remembers his mother, Kim Pederson.

“We knew something wasn’t quite right, but we were having trouble pinpointing what it was,” says Cooper’s dad, Mike Estenson.

Cooper underwent testing at University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital in early December 2021. He was soon admitted and began treatment for T-cell acute lymphoblastic leukemia (T-ALL), a type of blood cancer that begins in the bone marrow and can spread to other organs.

Read Cooper’s story here.