2018’s Rhode Islanders of the Year

We honor inspiring people — and one dog! — who moved the state forward in 2018.

Rhode Islanders

Nola with her Uncle Kareem, mother, Jaleesa, and grandmother Roxanne. Photography by Alex Gagne.

Nola Cooper

On april 18, Nola Cooper, a bubbly, bright little girl, turned five years old. That Wednesday morning was a day to celebrate Nola not only for another year of life, but for her act of bravery, too. At around 9 a.m., Nola noticed that her mother was unresponsive and lying on the floor; Jaleesa Cooper was suffering from a seizure.

“She thought I was dead,” says Jaleesa. “She knew right away to call her grandmother, Roxanne, who we call ‘Ma,’ and dialed her number.”

When Ma received the call, her son, Kareem Cooper, rushed over to the Park Holm residence. He immediately attended to Jaleesa and called 911 for medical help.

At only five, Nola Cooper’s quick thinking saved her mother’s life. “I called Ma and told her my mommy was having a seizure. I told them so they could come save my mom,” says Nola, while showing us how she uses her mother’s cellphone to talk with her grandmother each day. She finds her contact information in the phone and looks at Ma with a smirk.

Her caring and attentive nature surely didn’t go unnoticed. And should another medical emergency ever arise, Nola is learning the importance of calling medical professionals for help, too.

“We are teaching Nola how to call 911,” says Jaleesa Cooper. “She is learning about [them] and how they can help her in times of need.” –Samantha Labrecque

Leave a reply