Snow Hill Elementary School is displaying bright purple to send a message to Cooper Barnes.The fourth grader faces the battle of his life during the next few months, undergoing four brain surgeries to combat seizures related to epilepsy.

Cooper's mom, Rachel Barnes said, "When we talked to the neurosurgeon, he was very honest to Cooper, explaining how difficult this might be. Cooper said, that's fine, I just don't want to have epilepsy any more."

Cooper's family and friends are in awe of his quiet determination. He could miss up to five months of school, but he's facing his challenges with courage.

Rachel said, "Honestly, they say God don't give you nothing you can't handle. I worry about it, but he just says, Mom it's okay." His classmates plan to keep in touch during his absence by making cards and videos, and visiting with him.  They're already planning a welcome back party when he has recovered from the four surgeries.

Fourth grade teacher Jennifer Griffin said, "I've known Cooper since kindergarten, and I've been looking forward to having him in 4th grade. I'm gonna miss him while he's gone."  

Cooper has battled epilepsy for several years, and the seizures cause him to shut down mentally, being temporarily unable to speak or comprehend.  His parents say a medical team is in place, with a plan they had hoped to avoid, but it is a plan that could give him a chance to lead a normal life. 
Rita Moore, the education director for the Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee said, "Cooper's parents have trained him to push through. He has the right attitude, that he's going to take this and beat it."

The 4th grade class has a "Cooper Countdown Calendar," as they await his return.  Blood Assurance of Chattanooga is accepting blood donations on his  behalf.  The Epilepsy Foundation of Southeast Tennessee is providing help to Cooper's family, as they do for all families who are dealing with epilepsy. You may contact them at 423-634-1772 or visit the official website.