DEVOTED FAMILY MAN: Franklin Silver Lining Trust special break recipient, Chloe Cooper, with a photo of Chad Bryden – her loving partner and father of her son, Kobe. Chad died in April from undiagnosed stomach cancer.
Chloe Cooper’s son Kobe toddles swiftly around the lounge and tries to make a break for the backyard. ‘‘He’s just like his father was, a real outdoorsy boy,’’ said Chloe – who works as a hairdresser in Pukekohe. Chloe’s beloved partner Chad Bryden passed away suddenly in April from undiagnosed stomach cancer – leaving Chloe to raise their 15-month-old son on her own.
Since Chad’s passing, 23-yearold Chloe has been living in Pukekohe with Chad’s mother Barb Bryden – and finding strength through Kobe. ‘‘He’s definitely cheeky like his dad and has his eyes.’’ After hearing of their devastating loss, the Franklin Silver Lining Trust gifted Chloe and Barb a special break. The break included pampering at Pure Indulgence Day Spa and a voucher for Monarch Cafe. ‘‘Monarch is my favourite and I hadn’t been for ages,’’ said Chloe. ‘‘I went for dinner with my friend, so that was really cool.’’
Chloe said it was just after Easter this year, when Chad started to get sick. ‘‘We spent Easter weekend in Whitianga ’cos Chad was the best man at his friend’s wedding. We had a really good time but, as soon as we got back, Chad started getting sick,’’ she said. ‘‘He was complaining of a sore leg and I was trying to convince him to go to the doctor but he didn’t want to. The next day he woke up with chest pains which really freaked him out.’’ So Chloe took Chad to Middlemore Hospital, where doctors discovered he had blood clots and started him on blood-thinning medication. ‘‘He was in hospital a week and he started sort of coming right and was told he could go home,’’ said Chloe. ‘‘I was so excited to pick him up from hospital but he was in a lot of pain on the way home and it was torture. ‘‘He was bleeding inside at the time but we didn’t know.’’ Chad watched a Warriors game on television that night but at 2am he told Chloe he needed an ambulance. ‘‘He was bleeding heavily from everywhere you can,’’ said Chloe. Chad was admitted to Middlemore again, where he was put in the high-dependency unit. He lost his vision and the doctors found out he was bleeding internally. ‘‘He was in another world and kept forgetting where he was but I stayed with him for three days and kept talking to him. He knew I was there,’’ said Chloe. Doctors were still puzzled by Chad’s condition; but as his organs began to fail, he was placed in an induced coma. Chad passed away peacefully in the early hours of April 17. A post-mortem examination showed the 28 year old had stomach cancer.
‘‘When I look back, there were a lot of hints,’’ said Chloe. ‘‘He always complained of a crook stomach and I told him to go the doctors and he’d always say he was all good.’’ Chloe described Chad as a kickback guy who loved the Chiefs, the Warriors and the All Blacks. ‘‘He had a black Mercedes bus, which was his party bus, he had heaps of friends and he loved Kobe.’’ Chad worked for his uncle at Twomey Construction and Chloe said he really enjoyed his job. ‘‘He loved his job like nobody I know. He always looked forward to going to work.’’
Chad and Chloe recently purchased a home in Tuakau and were looking forward to expanding their family. ‘‘Chad wanted five kids. We were planning to have another one soon so that Kobe could have a sibling close to his age.’’ Barb said it was hard to accept her son was really gone. ‘‘He worked in Perth for six years at the mines and now it’s like he’s just gone away for work again. ‘‘I keep expecting him to just walk through the door,’’ she said. ‘‘He was always a good kid. He was so easy going and nothing fazed him. His attitude was ‘it’ll be right’.’’
Barb and Chloe said they were looking forward to being pampered at Pure Indulgence. ‘‘I was surprised to get a special break as there are people more deserving than us,’’ said Barb. ‘‘We would like to thank the Silver Lining Trust very much.’’ Before he passed away, Chad was busy making plans for the duck shooting season.
Story by NATALIE POLLEY