26 Apr F*Cancer 2019: “Fighters” – Nevaeh Brooks
Welcome to the 2019 F*Cancer Blog – “Fighters”
This is a raw, unedited look in to the lives of those that have been personally affected by cancer. We wanted to be able to use our resources as a platform for individuals to share their take and outlook on a terrible disease. This nine week program will feature a different fighter each Friday leading up to the launch of the 2019 F*Cancer program in June. We stand with all those who have been affected and want to make positive strides to further education, awareness, and support. It is week four of our fighters campaign and we bring you our friend Nevaeh Brooks and her journey.
Miracles Happen, Never Lose Hope
Nothing is stronger than the love that a parent shares with their child. There is also no greater pain than watching your child suffer when you would give anything to take that pain away. Nevaeh was diagnosed January 26, 2009 with stage 4 Neuroblastoma. Eight days after her first birthday. She was getting worse quickly and while her parents, Chris and Sara Brooks, were waiting for the biopsy results her kidneys started failing. It was time to start Chemotherapy right away. “Our fight against Neuroblastoma had started whether we were prepared or not.” Sara stated. “We don’t think anyone can truly prepare for such a fight for your life, but here we were watching our daughter do just that. The first three weeks were extremely hard as a few doctors told us that Nevaehs chances of living until her third birthday were extremely small.” The emotions that they felt during this time can never be explained with words. They prayed and continued to be strong and full of hope for Nevaeh. Thankfully the first round of Chemotherapy helped get her kidneys functioning again and they were able to go home as a family after three weeks of being in the hospital.
Chris and Sara went on to say, “We knew at this moment it was only the beginning of her 14 month treatment plan and we had to be as strong as we could be for her. She didn’t understand what was happening to her, what drugs were being put into her little body and the side affects these drugs were going to cause. We had to live that nightmare, watching her start throwing up a few hours after starting the chemotherapy. At such a young age she could only feel and see how we were handling it so we needed to make each day as normal as we could. We cuddled a lot; we watched a lot of shows, especially her personal favorite The Little Einsteins. We tried to make everyday as normal as we could, spending as much time together as a family, trying to laugh at the moments when she laughed and smiled.”
Nevaeh went through five rounds of Chemotherapy, surgery to remove primary tumor located near her right adrenal gland and a few other tumors that were in her stomach, round six of chemotherapy, stem cell bone marrow transplant, twelve days of radiation and five rounds of an anti-body study that Nevaeh was the first patient at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital to do.
Nevaeh doesn’t remember going through treatment but she remembers all the affects that treatment has changed her life. She has had some hearing loss since she started treatment and recently it has gotten little worse. She has five adult teeth that died due to Chemotherapy which means eventually she will have to get implants. She will continue to have echocardiograms for the rest of her life due to Chemotherapy. When asked what she wanted the world to better understand about cancer, Sara stated, “With all this said we want you all to know that she will be Neuroblastoma free for ten years this June but there is still lots of fighting after cancer. All the side effects from treatment has been extremely hard on Nevaeh. Please remember that the fight never really ends.”
We end this by sharing something that Chris and Sara wish they knew years ago. “Support those organizations that help bring awareness about childhood cancer and the ongoing affects from treatment. The more awareness we can bring, the more research and funding that can be done for these young fighters. Many of these children experience many life long side affects due to having treatment at such young age.” Every birthday is a huge milestone that she is here on Earth and healthy, every new thing she learns is a huge milestone. The little things that sometimes we take for granted until the moment that you realize it could be taken from you in a matter of a second. The fight is not done, and neither is Nevaeh.