Harlemite Charles Cooper Jr., businessman and one time 2016 candidate for New York City Council District 9, is calling on his beloved Uptown community and beyond in his quest for a new kidney.
Last week Cooper told the Amsterdam News, “I found out when I went to the ER when I was feeling ill. I was very fatigued. I didn’t know what it was. I had trouble breathing, my tastes had changed. I did not think it was COVID-19. It wasn’t—it was kidney failure. That was a week and a half ago.”
He added, “Prior to that I know I had high blood pressure. Now I have dialysis three times a week.”
Cooper wants help, but certainly not sympathy. “I want to get back to being active in the community to continue advocating for issues I care about such as gender equality, immigration issues, and opportunities for the disenfranchised population, and I can’t do that because of my kidney issues. So I would like people to help by volunteering to check to see if they are a match.”
A noted activist, advocate and businessman, Cooper has spent a decade working to empower the people of Harlem, and in Africa too.
“I have spent the last 10 years working with businesses, neighborhood leaders and clergy for the economic advancement of residents in Harlem,” Cooper said in a previous interview.
As a child, Charles fled a civil war in Liberia with his mother and two siblings, and has worked since then tirelessly to “become a fierce advocate for New York City’s 300,000 African immigrants.” His former campaign press statement said, “The head of the African Advisory Council, Charles emerged as a national spokesman for America’s intervention into the 2015 Ebola epidemic, becoming a regular commentator on CNN and other prominent local media. In 2013, he completed work as a research consultant for the United States Agency for International Development on a $50 million project in Liberia.”
With his Bachelor’s of Science in Electrical Engineering from the University of Rhode Island, and Master’s degree in Leadership and Administration from the College of Saint Rose, Cooper served as the vice chair of Manhattan Community Board 9, where he worked on Columbia University’s $7 billion campus expansion, “with focus on local business inclusion.” He also worked on the first rezoning of West Harlem in 60 years and helped to reform the West Harlem Local Development Corporation, a nonprofit tasked with dispensing millions of dollars to the Harlem community. Additionally, Charles served as the former chair of the political action committee for the Frederick Samuel Democratic Club.
Quietly shocked by his present condition, Cooper said, “I love the community that I serve every day, whether in the day-to-day advocating, running for office to represent this community that I honor, I am now asking said community to assist me in this brand new and unexpected situation I find myself in.”
Cooper, who revealed he had actually considered running for mayor in 2021, added, “We have been going through some tough times, and I am not tone-deaf about people’s fears about the pandemic and hospitals, but I would assure them that all protocols are strictly in place.”
Cooper said he is on all the necessary donor lists, but noted, “In New York the list for a donor from a deceased person is 8 to 10 years long. There is a national donor pool that all the hospitals draw from, so the best bet is a live donor.”
He said that potential volunteer donors “can call Mount Sinai and give my name, or they can send me an email. Mount Sinai will tell them about the tests they will take to see if they are healthy enough and a match. Many members of our community unfortunately suffer from a number of underlying conditions such as hypertension and diabetes. So they may be a match, but not able to be a candidate.”
As he sat attached to the dialysis machine and on the phone, the activist implored his community, “I need your help; I am very grateful for all the support I have received so far. As I wait I will knock on every door in the hope of getting a kidney sooner rather than later.”
For more information, contact the donor team at Mount Sinai Hospital by calling 212-659-8024 or 212-659-8086, or email Charles Cooper at: firstname.lastname@example.org