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Remembering Brooke


Remembering Brooke


When Brooke was just two years old, her parents Karl and Olivia took her to the hospital with a high fever. She suffered a seizure, and was given an MRI scan. 


Karl recalls, “the neurosurgeon walked into the room, looked me straight in the eye and said ‘your daughter has a brain tumour. She’s probably got between two to five years to live”. The next day, the surgeons removed a tumour the size of a golf ball. 


After Brooke’s surgery and twelve months of intensive chemotherapy, she reached remission and returned home. 


When Brooke was five, life had begun to settle. “We were only going to the hospital for routine six-monthly scans. Then we got a call – Brooke had another tumour. The surgeons removed it, and she then went through six weeks of daily radiotherapy.” 


Brooke reached remission again. However, life was never really ‘normal’. She had a shunt in her brain, impaired hearing and learning difficulties.


Remembering Brooke


Her mum, Olivia, remembers fondly how courageous and creative Brooke was: brain cancer had impacted Brooke’s development and she was struggling at school, but rather than give up, Brooke turned to baking to help her learn to read and improve her maths. 


“Baking was her passion, she loved it. She loved reading the recipes.” 


“Just before Brooke’s 14th birthday, she began having headaches and problems with her vision and balance. We were told to take her straight to Emergency, where the doctors told us Brooke had a major tumour in her brain stem. She had between 9-12 months to live. Just like that,” Karl says. 


“We were honest with Brooke from the start. We focused on making sure she was able to do what made her happy,” Karl explains. “Our eldest daughter got engaged, and Rochelle planned the wedding in eight weeks so Brooke could be there. On the day, Brooke walked down the aisle as a bridesmaid. One week later, she couldn’t walk at all.” 


Karl says, “I needed to stop working and spend time with Brooke – I didn’t want to have any regrets after she passed away. Redkite’s Financial Assistance Program helped us pay for essentials like groceries, petrol and utility bills during this time.” 


Three months after her sister’s wedding, aged 15 years old, Brooke passed away. 


After Brooke’s death, the family continued to receive support to help cover the costs of Brooke’s funeral and, most importantly, emotional support from a Redkite Social Worker. Karl says, “I was initially too proud to ask for help. I thought I could deal with things myself. I’m so glad I got the help I did.” 


“We remember Brooke every day as such a courageous, loving and selfless young lady. She never complained, and she never gave up hope.”


Karl and Olivia now want Brooke to be remembered for how she lived - her love of baking and swimming and folk art; how selfless, kind and courageous their beautiful little girl was. That's why they're sharing their story.


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