Brooke is 6 yrs. old, born in October, 2007 and was first diagnosed at 16 months on 2/20/2009 with High Risk ALL (Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia). Brooke was in remission for 4.5 years (counting most of the time she was in treatment). In August 2013, she started experiencing headaches. They came and went but gradually got worse and more frequent and included other symptoms, vomiting, tingling in her hands and feet, and double vision.
On Sep 9, 2013 she went in for a diagnostic lumbar puncture ordered by her oncology team to test for leukemia in her Cerebral Spinal Fluid and that afternoon we got the news that she had indeed relapsed. Brooke's cancer came back not in her blood and bone marrow, but in her central nervous system. Only 5% of cases like hers experience relapse. She was in that 5%.
Thankfully, Brooke's prognosis is excellent! This is a relapse though, so they have to hit her even harder than they did the first time. Her treatment plan calls for 56 weeks of intense chemo, followed by 18-24 months of Maintenance, which will include radiation. She has to spend this period (about 18 months by the time they get through it all) either in the hospital or at home. During her intense treatment phases, Brooke's immunity is quite compromised. She cannot go to school or anywhere with crowds (Disneyland, movie theaters, play grounds). She can't go to other people's houses if they have pets, and there are times when her counts are so low she can't even go to the grocery store with her mom. She will miss all of 1st grade and at least half of 2nd. Brooke has a home school teacher who comes to see her at home, so that she will hopefully be able to keep up and rejoin her class when she is ready to return to school.
Why we are fundraising:
Allyson is self-employed as a Life Coach for Moms and sees clients at her home. Since Brooke's relapse, Allyson has had to put her practice on hold and is not eligible for unemployment or paid family leave benefits. She does get support from Brooke's dad, but it isn't enough to cover all of their living expenses. So far Allyson has been supplementing with some savings and the help of friends and family. Thankfully their insurance covers almost all of Brooke's care and the co-payments are not debilitating! :)
They are living very simply and doing pretty well at making their dollars stretch, but they can only stretch so far! Allyson lives in a cute one bedroom apartment with Brooke and her brother Aidan, who's 9. Aidan is in 3rd grade and in a lot of ways Brooke's relapse has been harder on him than her. He is strong too though and has unlimited compassion for his little sister.
So far Brooke has gotten through 26 of her 56 weeks of intense chemotherapy. It's taken more than 26 weeks though, as the doctors often hold treatment to allow Brooke's body to rest and recover. The second half of her treatment is the toughest, with more time in the hospital, and higher potential for side effects, so she and her family are gearing up for this second half now! We are hoping she will get to Maintenance in early 2015, at which point Brooke will be able to go back to school and Allyson can begin rebuilding her practice.
Due to Allyson not being able to work in order be at daughter's side every day to care for her in and out of the hospital, it's going to take at least $10,000 to get them through to Maintenance. Allyson's savings is dwindling and she is looking into other government and charity programs that she can apply for. She is very optimistic and knows it will work out. Brooke also shares this trait of her mom's. Brooke is a bright light and has tremendous amount of hope.
Please contribute what you can to this family. Your donations would go towards gas for frequent trips to and from the hospital, co-pays on prescriptions and some procedures, rent, utilities, food, and clothes. And most of all, it would giving this family your love and some comfort.
To read more about Brooke and her family's journey, visit Allyson's Blog
If you are more comfortable making a donation via paypal, there is a paypal link on Allyson's blog here.
Thank you for your time and your contribution!
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