Brooke’s a sushi devotee, published writer, pre-med student at Stanford and unapologetic fan of reality TV.Brooke’s also fought cancer – but she’s never let it define her. Diagnosed with high-risk acute myeloid leukemia (AML) when she was a sophomore in college, Brooke achieved remission soon after beginning treatment. Thanks to a bone marrow transplant from her brother in 2015, Brooke officially became a survivor.
But that’s where her cancer journey took a troubling turn.
Since her transplant, Brooke has suffered acute and chronic graft vs. host disease (GVHD) in her gut, skin, eyes, liver and mouth. While she still deals with the impact of GVHD, Brooke is also immune compromised, infertile and has permanent alopecia – all late effects from the cancer treatment.
Brooke says, “I have found joy despite cancer but not because of cancer.”
With courage and persistence, this young woman refuses to give up on her dreams. She’s been accepted to medical school at Mount Sinai in New York.
She’s also passionate about survivorship and improving quality of life for cancer survivors. Brooke established a St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund and her goal is to raise funds for research focused on young adult survivorship and chronic GVHD.
While Brooke acknowledges that cancer changed her, she’s definitely not the “girl with cancer.” The experience has given her a fearlessness about life and a fierce independence to do her own thing – both of which will serve her well as she pursues her passions and her dreams.