Childhood Cancer Warrior, Brooklyn
Last month we had the opportunity to provide an evening out for many childhood cancer fighters at the CaroMont Health Cares Strikeout Pediatric Cancer Event with the Gastonia Honey Hunters. It was a fun-filled night where childhood cancer fighters and survivors were able to put their many daily struggles aside and enjoy time with family and friends.
This year we have been happy to support Brooklyn and her family through our Strong Like AK care programs. We also were excited to host the McDaniel family at the recent Strike Out Pediatric Cancer baseball game. Brooklyn is a vibrant and fun 11-year-old young lady, local to our community, whose life was forever changed on October 28th, 2020.
Please read more from Brooklyn's mom about Brooklyn's diagnosis and what life is like living with childhood cancer included is a recent update on her fight against childhood cancer.
"In 2020, when we got the devastating news that our 9-year-old daughter Brooklyn had cancer. While undergoing surgery to have chest tubes put in for what everyone thought was pneumonia, the surgeons discovered that approximately 85% of Brooklyn’s right lung had become liquified and necrotic. They collected samples of the necrotic tissue and fluid for biopsies and sent them in for testing, and the results revealed that Brooklyn had Stage 3 Group 3 Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS) with her primary tumor being located in her right lung. Since being diagnosed, Brooklyn has undergone 42 weeks of intense chemotherapy, 24 weeks of maintenance chemotherapy, 5 weeks of radiation, and a total of 6 surgeries. She spent much of the first 3 months of treatment in and out of the hospital due to side effects from chemotherapy and illnesses. After rapidly losing 30 lbs because of nausea and vomiting, Brooklyn had surgery to get a G-Tube placed in her stomach due to severe weight loss/malnutrition. The chemotherapy had caused Brooklyn to have neuropathy in her feet which in turn resulted in her also having foot drops. It got to the point where Brooklyn could no longer walk without assistance, and she was mostly confined to her wheelchair. On March 11th, 2022, after a year and a half of chemotherapy treatments, Brooklyn received her last dose of chemotherapy, and she was able to ring the bell. Her scans continued to show no evidence of disease, and she had been officially declared in remission.
For the past two years, Brooklyn has fought valiantly, and she did it with the most positive attitude and grace. She is now 11 years old, and she is working hard to regain the life she once had before. After not being able to attend school for 2 long years, Brooklyn was finally able to return to the classroom last month. She is so happy to be back in school, and even though she gets exhausted rather quickly, she somehow always finds the strength to continue on. Brooklyn’s battle is ongoing, the possibility of relapse is all too real, and she still faces many challenges physically and emotionally. She continues to have difficulty walking as she still suffers from neuropathy and foot drop. Her lungs have significant damage from both the radiation and the tumor itself, and she has now been diagnosed with Restrictive Lung Disease. This next chapter in Brooklyn’s life is going to have its challenges for sure, but Brooklyn will rise to the occasion and continue to amaze us all with her positive disposition! We wanted to give you all an update and also let you all know that Brooklyn is going in for her biopsy tomorrow, November 4th. We met with her oncologist last Friday and went over what will take place during her surgery tomorrow and what her treatment will look like if the biopsy results show that it’s cancer again. Brooklyn’s doctor said that they brought her case in front of the board, surgeons, and the radiation team, and they all agreed that her scans looked very concerning and that if this is cancer, then it’s going to be very hard to beat. They will start with stronger chemo, then (if the chemo is working) she will have surgery for resection, then radiation again, and then even more chemo. It’s pretty much the same regimen she followed before, only much stronger & harsher, and the resection surgery will be a really big one, possibly the biggest one she has had yet. They will most likely have to remove her right lung because they don’t think they can get to the spot that is lighting up without having to completely remove the lung.
The good news is that if Brooklyn’s biopsy does not show any sign of cancer cells, she will not have to go through any of this. We truly believe that there is still a chance that this is going to be some kind of infection or inflammation, anything other than cancer. Please keep Brooklyn in your prayers, tonight through tomorrow especially. Please pray that her biopsy does not show that her cancer has come back. Your prayers and positive energy have carried us through the last 2 years, and we know that with enough prayers and support, we can, and we will get through whatever is to come. “
-Brooklyn’s Mom, Diana
To learn more about Brooklyn and her journey, visit:
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Brooklyn, Age 11, Stage 3 Group 3 Embryonal Rhabdomyosarcoma (ERMS)
Brooklyn(center right), Brooklyn's wonderful family, and Kim Webb (Board Co-President)
Twisted Sugar, Belmont, NC