Back in July 2017, we told our readers about former Savannah State football defensive lineman Damon Johnson who is in need of a kidney.
This week’s issue focuses on Freddie Cooper, another former Savannah State athlete who is also needs a new kidney.
In 2010, Cooper received some news that altered his life.
“I went to the doctor for a physical and found out that I have kidney disease,” said the 68 year old.
“I have a kidney disease called focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS) which is a genetic condition that only a kidney transplant can correct. I have to undergo dialysis nine hour every day.”
Cooper is a Savannah native who was reared on the east side of town on Luke Court. He is the second son of Vernell and Raymond Cooper. His father was a tile mason while his mother was a housekeeper.
As a youth, Cooper participated in track, cross country and football. “I was a wide receiver in football, even though I weighed 150 pounds,” he states.
He says that he has good memories of his high school years while attending Johnson High School. “I fondly remember the life lessons taught to me by the great teachers and coaches such as Otis Brock, John Myles and Floyd Morris.” On the academic side, Cooper valued the teachings of Thelma Stiles and Gwen Goodman.
Cooper was awarded an athletic jacket while in high school and was named the most outstanding participant in track and in cross country.
After graduating high school in 1968, Cooper attended Savannah State where he earned himself an athletic scholarship.
While at Savannah State, Cooper studied chemistry and math & physics. “My greatest memories at Savannah State were studying chemistry under Dr. Willie Tucker and my fraternity brothers, Gary Simmons and James “Juke” Bennett.” Cooper added that he also served as the president of the college branch of the American Chemical Society and that his favorite instructors were Tucker and Dr. Kailash Chandra.
In the fall of 1969, Cooper and six others became members of the Delta Eta Chapter of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity.
Cooper ran track and cross country under coach Richard Washington at Savannah State. “I received an athletic jacket and was named Outstanding College Athletes of America in 1971.” He ran the 880 yard dash, which would be 800 meters today, as well as the first leg of the mile relay.
Cooper cherishes his time wearing the blue and orange, from high school to college and enjoys spending time with lifelong friendships he established over the years. “I see my fraternity brothers often and I saw Bobby Jackson, Elder Lu James Williams and my god brother Dennis Akins for the first time in years, a few month ago. I also see many Johnson High classmates at our reunion meetings.”
After finishing college in 1972, Cooper worked in electroplanting engineering, hazardous waste management and as an independent chemical contractor.
Cooper attends church at Greater Historical Elem Missionary Baptist Church in Ludowici, Georgia where he serves as a devotional leader. “My family (Frasier and Welcome) helped establish the church 145 years ago. It is the oldest African American Church in Long County.”
Cooper is married to the former Barbara Thomas of Glennville, Georgia. he says they have been together for the past 21 years.
If anyone is willing and able to donate a kidney they can call the donor coordinator at the Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, Florida at 904-956-3249 or The transplant coordinator at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta at 706-721-4497. The Donors expenses related to the transplant will be covered by Cooper’s insurance and a trust fund.