Brooke Brown Memorial Fund

Brooke Brown of Tampa, FL passed away at age 18 on October 15, 2017 due to complications from lupus. She had a prominising future ahead of her and aspired to be a nurse. She enjoyed working out, yoga, shopping, outdoor music festivals, creating art, and going to the beach with her friends. Please read the following essay Brooke wrote on November 8, 2016.

 

In Her Own Words

1,025,109. The English language contains 1,025,109 words. Words contain significance to the beholder and can make or break you. They define people, situations, and attitudes. strength, purposefulness, and convalescent happen to be my favorite words that to define who I am, my struggles and overcomes I have achieved.

  
Strength; the quality or state of being strong. Googles definition doesn't give it the correct attributes to what strength means to me; the will to overcome and to take a situation they may break you, and make it make you. For the past 7 years, I’ve been diagnosed with a blood condition labeled Antiphospholipid-Syndrome. What started out as a mere stroke caused by a microscopic deep vein thrombosis has turned into an epileptic nightmare (or so you would think).  As a 12-year-old, you don’t fully understand the impact being in the ICU can have on your parents. Behind closed doors, down the hall in a bathroom stall, in the car, anywhere but where I could see them, they couldn't bare to comprehend the fact that their little girl almost died, at 12. Strength was initiated at this point in time. We got past this time span and moved on with life while putting, this behind us as a foggy memory (at least for me). Not even a year later, I find myself in the hospital once more. A 9-inch clot has decided to take over my femoral Artery which has made me inferior to its snowballing actions and unstoppable determination.  4 weeks hospitalized this year, 2 weeks the next year, 3 weeks my sophomore year, it wouldn't stop. There was nothing in my power, my doctor's abilities, or my parent's protection, from the realism death could be an option. There were times where I couldn't bare it anymore. Always being hospitalized and watching my friends live their lives while I missed so much school, that by the time I caught back up I would fall right behind once more, laying in my lumpy butt-numbing bed, on the pediatric floor. Strength doesn't define your physique. Foremost meat-heads, sure. It is the reason I'm still here today and my will to strive towards greatness.

Convalescent; recovering from an illness. I wouldn't necessarily use this as a verb, but more like an adjective. I use this word to describe my mental mindset rather than a physical overcome. At a certain point, I never thought this would end, a repetitive downward spiral of unfortunate events. Like an average mood swingin' teenage girl, I found myself in a dark hole in the ground. Unable to crawl back up. No one could throw me a ladder to help, I refused to climb it. I spent a while in that hole, thinking over and over again why has this happened to me and why does no one understand. After a time span filled with lonely thoughts and silent suffering, I decided I didn't want to live like this. I wanted a better life for myself and the only way I could do that was for me to get over the fact that these were the cards i was dealt, and to grab that ladder, and climb all the way up to the top. The top was beautiful. Being convalescent wouldn't make me a victim, but to make me victorious.

Purposefulness; having or showing determination, having a useful purpose.  I've always gone by the cliché saying "everything happens for a reason".  Why did all of this happen to me, so young and had the whole world of opportunities ahead of me?  But after a while of lying in a hospital bed, you start to wonder what your purpose is. What is the reason all of them has happened to you?  Day in and day out you get handed different nurses, some more wanting to connect to you than others whom may think you're just a doll they can poke and stick and not have to emotionally care about. But those who sat down with me and taught me how to shuffle a deck of cards, or cried with me, they were my purpose. They opened my heart and implanted this love that craves to be the pediatric nurse I plan to be. My purpose is to make a child happy and forget about their pain for a little while.  My purpose is to make an impact on someone else besides myself.

I'm sure there are hundreds of other words out there I could've used. But these words stand out more than others. They have defined me. They have made me a strong woman I have become today. These words have taught me not to just accept my illness and think its an enviable situation, but to pull through to the other side. The bright side, full of endless possibilities. Having a purpose and knowing what I may be in this world is the biggest blessing of all. It is at the peak of this triangle, wrapping it all together. Knowing what I was meant to do in this world, despite all of the setbacks I may have come across. There is something else out there for me to do, and make an impact on other lives. And the best part, this is all just the beginning.

Brooke Brown

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