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One girl’s kindness outshines her challenges

Santa with Brooke  Photo courtesy of Steve Burwell
Santa with Brooke Photo courtesy of Steve Burwell

Breakfast with Brooke

By Caroline Karnatz

When Brooke Williams met Santa Claus one morning in mid-December, she asked about the North Pole, reindeer and the elves.

When Brooke, 9, isn’t envisioning a certain red-nosed reindeer, she likes to play with stuffed animals and jewelry. Brooke is a seemingly normal child, even though she is fighting a pediatric brain tumor.

Doctors diagnosed Brooke with a stage four astrocytoma in February of 2011. Despite a mixture of chemotherapy and other medicines (one of which only 20 children worldwide are taking), her prognosis remained dire.  Armed with newer research, her doctors changed her protocol and Brooke is able to spend more quality time here with her family.

In an effort to grant Brooke an escape from the daily struggles of fighting a brain tumor, the North Landing Homeowner’s Association invited Brooke to join their “Breakfast with Santa,” a morning dedicated to mingling with friends, family and Santa. Donations from the Harrison High School SkillsUSA team and community members provided early Christmas presents for Brooke.

After breakfast, when Santa and his Helpers brought in the gifts for Brooke, she asked if he brought anything for her parents. Brooke’s kindness touched the parents and volunteers in attendance as she repeatedly reminded Santa that her little brother, Dre, could play with her toys too.  Brooke put others ahead of herself, shining like a star, said Bill Phelps, event participant.

In fact, Brooke is a Pediatric Brain Tumor Foundation (PBTF) “star” – that’s what the foundation calls the children it aims to help. As the world’s largest non-governmental funder of childhood brain tumor research, the PBTF is on a mission to find a cure for the 13 children diagnosed with a brain tumor in the United States every day.

The PBTF will continue to help children like Brooke’s throughout the year. For more information about the PBTF, including ways you can help, visit curethekids.org.

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