One minute he was a just another hard-working guy with a sore neck who figured he was pushing himself too hard. The next: He was an ER patient who was told he better see a specialist. Not soon. Like, right now.

A sketch of Tim Cooper, a Black man in his fifties who lives in Gastonia, North Carolina.
Tim Cooper shares his story in a 5-part series.

The next minute, he learned he had bone disease and faced the possibility of becoming paralyzed from the neck down. And that he had cancer. And that it was incurable.

It all crashed down on Tim Cooper without a moment’s notice. You get a hole blown in your life and ask: Why me? Tim, however, would adopt the attitude: Why not me?

Not so long ago, he was making sure hungry passengers at Salsarita’s and Potbelly’s at Charlotte Douglas International Airport got their meals and made it to the gate with time to spare. Now he’s here in a 5-part podcast series to help other cancer patients and their families by sharing what’s he’s been through. He also shares some discoveries about himself.

“Beating Incurable,” produced by Gina DiPietro, covers his journey in just an hour, where we learn how he finds the strength to keep moving forward, and how others can as well. While he’s a glass-half-full philosopher by nature, Tim also makes clear that there are plenty of tough days. And that they are survivable.

Dr. Patricia Kropf, an oncologist at Novant Health, smiles for a photo in a white lab coat.
Dr. Patricia Kropf
Dr. John Berry-Candelario, a Black neurosurgeon at Novant Health, smiles for a photo in a white lab coat.
Dr. John Berry-Candelario

We’ll also hear from oncologist Dr. Patricia Kropf and neurosurgeon Dr. John Berry-Candelario on Tim’s care and the approach they bring to all their patients at Novant Health.

You don’t go through something this formidable without coming out a little different on the other side. In the final episode, Tim lays out some big decisions about what’s next. Changes he never saw coming. He’s not glad he had cancer, but the experience, he believes, may be taking him to a better place.

You can find the podcast at Apple, Spotify and Google podcasts, just search "Novant Health Healthy Headlines."

Start listening now!

Leave Tim a note of encouragement

Tim Cooper is pictured at a doctor's appointment in Charlotte.
Tim Cooper smiles through the challenges.

Tim's story was also detailed in not one, but two Healthy Headlines articles, written by Josh Jarman.

If you'd like to leave Tim a note of encouragement, please join the discussion at the end of each article. He's responded to many of the comments already.