“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
“A RACE CAR DRIVER!!” Brooks proudly exclaimed at his Pre-K graduation. I can remember that day like it was just yesterday. It was filled with such hope and promise of a future for him. However, it ended up being one of the last days we ever dreamt about his future together and the last day he would ever feel like a normal student. Just one short month later, our lives forever changed.
Our son, Brooks Blackmore, was a healthy, active and loving 5 year-old boy until June 13, 2015 when we experienced every parent’s worst nightmare. Brooks was unexpectedly diagnosed with two, stage IV inoperable brain tumors (anaplastic astrocytomas, often referred to as GBMs). We were told there was no cure or any effective treatment options. He received a shunt and tumor biopsy on 6/14/15 and then suffered a brain bleed 10 days later because the tumor was growing so quickly. Brooks immediately started brain radiation in hopes to slow down his tumor and prolong his life. He endured 6 weeks of radiation along with oral chemo. The nasty tumors started to shrink. It was a miracle! After losing almost all motor function, speech, and feeding abilities, Brooks started to improve! With therapy and hard work he regained almost all lost function and was finally able to attend kindergarten part-time. He still had several deficits and struggles as a result of the tumors and treatments, but we felt in our hearts he was going to beat the odds. Throughout his battle Brooks was so brave and did everything he was asked to do. But unfortunately on March 16, 2016, a new tumor was found on his cervical spine. This time the tumor was too aggressive and resistant to radiation. Our hearts were shattered when Brooks gained his angel wings on May 21, 2016. Brooks has forever changed our lives and we are so blessed to have loved him even for 6 short years. We would do it all again, just to call him our son.
Brooks’s love for life and his family (especially his younger brother and sister who are twins) radiated throughout his battle with brain cancer. He fought with such bravery and with a “faith over fear” attitude. He was BRAVE beyond his years and one could not help but be inspired. He never gave up. We now take his bravery, faith, and love with us as we face adversity and try to find our way in this lifetime without him.
The “Be Brooks Brave” High Grade Glioma Research Fund was created in honor of our brave boy and in hopes to find a cure for this nasty disease. Pediatric cancer only receives 4% of the U.S. Government funding for cancer research, with brain tumor research only receiving 1%. We heard words like, “there is no cure” and “there are no effective treatment options”. The only choice was radiation in hopes to “prolong his life”. We are now dedicated to changing this outcome and pray this money makes the difference in helping future families faced with the same devastating news.
One of the ways we have raised money is by partnering with the shoe company Bucketfeet. They put artwork from artists all over the world on tennis shoes. They put Brooks’s first canvas painting he created while battling the brain tumors on an exclusive tennis shoe! For every pair of shoes sold, $20 went back to St. Baldricks! Another way we have been spreading Brooks’s story, raising awareness, and collecting donations along the way started out as a simple project to help heal my heart during the month of December 2016. Brooks shares my birthday month and turned 7 on 12/20. It was also our first Christmas without him. I wanted to incorporate his passion for collecting HotWheels into a way to inspire others around the world. I decided to package a Hotwheel (labeled #BeBrooksBrave) and a copy of his painting inside a bag, which was then labeled “Finders Keepers”. The back of the painting described Brooks’s battle, some childhood cancer statistics, and a link to his St. Baldrick’s Hero Fund for donations. We hid the bags for other children to find at a few of Brooks’s favorite places. Our local news station aired the story and by the end of the month, Brooks’s story was heard all over the world on over 75 news outlets! We were blown away by the love and support we received. It really became clear that GOOD could come from BAD, if you just change your mindset.
Because of all the love we have received during Brooks’s battle, as well as during our grief journey, we believe HOPE still exists. We THANK YOU for your donations to help find a cure and to give HOPE to children where there once was none. We pray Brooks continues to inspire people across the world facing challenging times to “Be Bigger than Brave…to BE BROOKS BRAVE”! We miss you Brooks and will continue to fight in your honor.
Donations made to the Be Brooks Brave Fund have funded a St. Baldrick’s Scholar Grant for Robbie Majzner M.D. and a St. Baldrick's Research Grant for Saba Ghassemi Ph.D. They are researching treatments for high-grade gliomas.
The St. Baldrick’s Foundation is guided by a Scientific Advisory Committee, comprised of leading experts in the childhood cancer community, to ensure that every dollar makes the greatest impact for kids with cancer.
Start your own St. Baldrick’s head-shaving event to raise money on behalf of our Hero Fund! You’ll be paired with a staff member who will walk you through every step of the process, and you’ll have fun knowing you’re doing a great thing for kids with cancer.
Register to shave your head and raise money for our Hero Fund at any St. Baldrick’s event happening around the world! Not finding an event near you? Register as a virtual shavee and shave your head anytime, anywhere.