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Rebels Grant Last Wishes

Fairfax High School student turns a school project into a fund raiser for a lost friend.

X B Cox III said any parent who has lost a child fears their child might end up being forgotten. That has proved impossible for his son, X B “Boone” Cox IV.

Boone Cox wrote about his cancer battle last March from the hospital. He didn’t pity himself, but he did try to raise awareness about diseases by encouraging those he knew to donate to research organizations.

Boone Cox died six months later. He was 19. Kyle Cooper, a friend of his from Fairfax United Methodist Church, read an excerpt from his writings that were printed on the back of the funeral service pamphlet. One paragraph stood out, and it changed the way Cooper thought about his own role in Boone Cox’s cancer battle.

“When I read it, I thought, how could I not do something,” said Cooper.

Boone Cox called upon his friends to donate time, money and energy to whatever they could. He wanted his friends to be prepared for the worst, by contributing everything possible and hoping for the best.

“So long as you’re able to help, why not do it,” wrote Cox, from the hospital last March.

Cooper, 17, decided to turn his Fairfax High School DECA project into a fund raiser for Cox, but his idea would require some coaxing of teachers and administrators. He wanted to conduct a poker tournament, and luckily the good cause behind it caused school officials to let the gambling event take place. Cooper, a senior, set it up differently, though, so students weren’t exactly gambling — although the winners received top-notch prizes.

“We had to go through every loophole to get that figured out,” said Cooper.

Tournament play was free at the Westfield Marriott, Sunday, Dec. 17, but donations were encouraged. Almost all of the proceeds went directly to The Leukemia and Lymphoma Society — just as Boone Cox would have wanted.

“Our school has never done anything like this,” said Cooper. “Our [DECA] teacher was thrilled.”

The original goal was to raise about $4,000. It seemed attainable and it gave Cooper motivation to work hard getting sponsors and players for the tournament. When sponsor money alone totaled about $6,000, Cooper knew the event was already a success. He set the new unofficial goal at $10,000.

“It felt the best to see [Boone’s parents] happy and smiling,” said Lindsey Jenkins, 18, a Fairfax High senior who helped with the event.

And they were happy. X B Cox said it was so wonderful to see how their son had made a lasting impression on the people he knew.

“To have a group of students impacted enough [by Boone] to translate it into action and raise money to help, was the ultimate tribute,” said X B Cox III. “We were deeply touched.”

Cooper had a silent auction and raffle drawings at the tournament too. Prizes included gift certificates, gift baskets and several sets of sports tickets. About 125 people played in the tournament, which brought in $10, 565 — $9,100 of which went directly to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, after expenses. “That’s a couple of rounds of Chemo right there,” said Cooper.

Tournament prizes included an XBox 360 and a $500 travel gift certificate.

“I’ve never felt this good,” said Cooper. “It literally was my whole life from September to December.”

Cooper said he hopes the junior class will step up and do something like this next year. Jenkins said she also hopes more people continue to raise awareness and support good causes. Cooper wants the friend he always admired to be remembered. More importantly, he wants that friend’s wishes fulfilled. A little time and effort could protect the lives of thousands, Boone Cox wrote, so why not do it?

“Boone had really impacted others,” said X B Cox. “It’s been so meaningful.”