Brooke was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma in November of 2010 at the age of three and a half. This type of cancer is in the nervous system and had spread to Brooke’s bone marrow and lymph nodes, in addition to the primary site which manifested as a massive abdominal tumor of her left adrenal gland.
Neuroblastoma contributes to approximately 6% of all childhood cancers in the United States and is considered the most common extracranial solid tumor in children. In about 2 out of diagnosed 3 cases of Neuroblastoma, the cancer has already spread to lymph nodes or other areas of the body, as in Brooke’s case.
According to Brooke’s mother, Jessica, Brooke’s diagnosis changed their family’s entire lives.
“Where we had been dedicating our lives and careers toward preparing her for school, saving for her college education, and working diligently, we shifted to preparing her for the harsh blow of chemo, researching her cancer and ways to save her life, and appreciating the love and support of our community in our time of need,” explains Jessica.
During Brooke’s harsh chemotherapy and long haul of surgeries, radiation, and treatments, her community of support sparked her motivation to help others in the same situation and cast a bit of positivity on an otherwise dark situation.
Thus, Brooke’s Blossoms was born. Brooke’s Blossoms, now a global nonprofit, makes flower headbands to share as a way to offset losing hair during treatments. Brooke and friends make the headbands and share them with others, first locally, and now internationally.
The foundation, Brooke’s Blossoming Hope for Childhood Cancer, is even supporting the research that Brooke is currently participating in. Jessica notes, “it impacts children directly with care packages of donated headbands, as well as helping to find and fund opportunities for cures in their battles that otherwise would not be funded.”
The generosity that sparked Brooke’s Blossoms continues to impress Jessica.
“People have pulled together and done such amazing acts of kindness to help benefit Brooke in her battle and we know that without such generous, compassionate support she may not be where she is today with her treatment,” she says.
Through continuously selfless acts, Brooke makes it her mission to show other children that there is support out there and a community, regardless of location.
To date, Brooke’s Blossoms has sent over 13,000 care packages of headwear for children fighting cancer and hair loss in approximately 34 different countries and her story has been published and translated into seven languages worldwide. Through community support for Brooke and from Brooke, this cause is possible and sharing the hope and love has become a reality.
Photo credit: Brooke’s Blossoms