Anderson Cooper Poses with Son Wyatt to Fundraise in Memory of Andrew Kaczynski's Late Daughter
Anderson Cooper is supporting his CNN colleague by fundraising for cancer research.
CNN reporter Andrew Kaczynski and his wife, Wall Street Journal reporter Rachel Louise Ensign, mourned the loss of their daughter Francesca when she died on Christmas Eve of brain cancer at just 9 months old. Thursday would have been her 1st birthday.
To help raise money for Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Cooper, 53, shared a series of selfies on Instagram featuring his son Wyatt Morgan, 10 months, in which they wore shirts that read "#TeamBeans," referencing Francesca's nickname.
"As a new parent, I am lucky that my son is healthy, but there a lot of kids facing life-threatening illnesses," says Cooper in the caption. "Francesca 'Beans' Kaczynski died of a rare brain cancer when she was just 9 months old. In her honor, we at CNN are raising money for kids with cancer. Be part of #TeamBeans! Proceeds from the sale of these hats go to @DanaFarber."
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Francesca's death came three months after Kaczynski, 31, previously said she'd been diagnosed with an "extremely rare and very aggressive rhabdoid brain tumor" — specifically, an atypical teratoid rhabdoid tumor (ATRT).
Speaking on Tuesday's episode of The View, Kaczynski said their plan for her birthday is actually "to have no plan." He added, "We're just gonna let that day hit us and figure out what we want to do."
Kaczynski said the couple were moved to share Francesca's story to spread awareness about pediatric brain cancer, and once they saw the outpouring of support from others (including many parents of children going through similar struggles), they realized it was worth speaking out.
"I just put that out there, the diagnosis, because we needed help," he explained. "We didn't know what to do. And from there, so many people who had kids with ATRT reached out to us and we contacted every expert in the world, basically, to figure out what to do. And it was important for me, at first, just to look for help."
"And now I feel like, for me at least, it's important for people to know about children with cancer. Because even though it's rare, you got 60,000 kids worldwide [who] might die of cancer every year, and that's millions of years lost with those kids, with their lives," Kaczynski continued.
He and Ensign have, so far, raised more than $575,000 for ATRT research at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and, as Ensign said, toward "a fund that will push research just into the brain tumor that Francesca had."