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The Cooper Project: A mother's mission to help others heal from heartbreak

Stephanie Robusto
Created: September 12, 2019 07:09 AM

WEBSTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — By sharing her own heartbreak, a local mom is helping others.

Jen Chappell’s Webster home serves as a sort of headquarters for the Cooper Project, named after her third child, Cooper.

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In 2016, the Chappell family was ready and waiting for little Cooper to make his appearance into the world. At 38 weeks pregnant, she had what she thought was a minor complication when the doctors noticed too much amniotic fluid. Because of that, Chappell and her nine-pound-baby were being monitored towards the end of her pregnancy.

"I was at a doctor’s appointment where he had a very strong heartbeat and then it just disappeared off the monitor," Chappell said. "Right in front of our eyes."

Her doctor rushed her to the hospital, but Cooper had passed away before they got there.

“I got to go through labor and hold him for a while,” she said, showing a picture of Cooper wrapped up in her arms in the hospital.

While recovering on maternity leave without her son, she hammered out his name on a necklace as a way to deal with the grief. She then made them for other moms in her loss support group.

From there, the Cooper Project began. Shortly after, she added a second movement called the Pink and Blue Awareness Project. In its first year, she was able to give out 400 pink and blue bracelets. This year, she hopes to hand out 10,000.

That mission is all possible due to the overwhelming support from strangers across the country. The bracelets are made from people coast-to-coast — some have experienced loss, others haven’t. Many include notes about their own experience and honor a child or grandchild. 

In her makeshift headquarters, Chappell and her friends have packing parties to ship out the bracelets to anyone who orders one. The idea is for everyone to wear them during October, which is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.

She hopes to raise awareness and education to help more moms bring home healthy babies.

Learn more about the Cooper Project here.


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