Cooper Leeman, portrait
Radcliffe, Iowa

Cooper was a healthy 14 month old when he began having breathing issues and vomiting frequently. His condition worsened, and his local hospital diagnosed him with dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart does not pump blood adequately. His heart function continued to worsen, and Cooper was transferred to University of Iowa Stead Family Children’s Hospital where he was put on the heart transplant list.

While he waited for a new heart, Cooper had a stroke during a procedure that resulted in multiple health issues, including seizures and poor vision. Cooper was on the transplant list for 2 years when a test in January 2017 revealed that his heart function had inexplicably improved. Even though he was taken off the transplant list, Cooper wasn’t out of the woods yet when his lungs collapsed in February 2018. After being placed on life support for 30 days, Cooper recovered. In his young life, Cooper has bravely faced every obstacle and continues to thrive.

View the full roster of 2019 Kid Captains here.