Brooke has always been such a happy and a tender-hearted little girl, full of energy and a love for life. She never complained about anything until Christmas Eve 2008 (age 4) when she started limping and complaining of pain in her leg. She was misdiagnosed at a local hospital in Maryland with toxic synovitis. Soon after, she was unable to straighten her legs, the pain was unbearable and she started running a fever. At the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) on January 5, 2009, Brooke was diagnosed with a very aggressive cancer, Stage IV high risk neuroblastoma. The cancer had started in her right adrenal gland and had spread through pretty much every bone in her body and approximately 80% of her bone marrow. Since that awful day, Brooke has had 8 rounds of chemotherapy, 4 surgeries, 2 stem cell transplants, numerous bone marrow biopsies, blood & platelet transfusions, 12 days of radiation to her skull, both femurs & abdomen and completed a grueling 6 month immunotherapy clinical trial (ch.14.18) in April 2010.
Brooke suffered significant high frequency hearing loss from her chemotherapy treatments and now requires hearing aids in both ears. Brooke is currently NED (No Evidence of Disease) and is finished with her treatments. Since the relapse rate is so high with neuroblastoma, she will get follow up scans every 3 months and will be monitored closely for possible late effects from all her treatments. Throughout her almost 1 and a 1/2 years of treatment at CHOP, Brooke never once complained about having to go to the hospital for treatments and actually enjoyed “sleepovers” and getting to see her amazing doctors, nurses and very special Child Life Specialist. Brooke amazes everyone with her positive attitude, strength and joy as she continues to celebrate life every day! She will always be my hero and my world.