GHS freshman “stands tall” vs. cancer
By: Anna Goodman
You notice her because she’s tiny, really tiny – 4’10’’ and a half and she emphasizes the half with a smile.
Although she has been ignorantly teased at times her tiny stature is the result of both genetics and chemotherapy.
What many do not know about GHS freshman Eleanor Brooks is her strength and perseverance. At the age of two, Eleanor was diagnosed with cancer, specifically Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia.
Born Feb. 8, 2008 to James and Aronne Brooks, Eleanor lived just like everyone around her until she was two and half years old.
“We knew something was wrong, but we didn’t know what and we had been told a few different things that it could be, bone cancer, also known as Osteosarcoma,” said Aronne.
Osteosarcoma typically presents itself in bones that make up a person’s arms and legs, usually resulting in the removal of the infected bone. Leukemia is cancer that presents itself in blood tissue. According to doctors Eleanor’s specific type of Leukemia was one of the easier types of cancer to treat.
When the Brooks family were made aware of Eleanor’s diagnosis, they were confronted with fear, anger, and shock but also relief.
This would not be a short term ordeal. Eleanor’s diagnoses did not come with an end date. However, the diagnosis provided some solid hope for the family due to the fact that statistically Eleanor’s cancer has a higher success of treatment rate than Osteosarcoma.
Eleanor’s story is one of perseverance, determination, and strength. She received the news that she had cancer for the first time in 2010, then again in 2014, in 2017, and in 2018. According to Aronne, Eleanor once said “I beat it once, I will just do it again.”
When fighting cancer patients not only battle the disease itself but also fight to live a relatively normal life despite it.
After the diagnosis in July of 2017, it was evident that Eleanor would need a bone marrow transplant. Younger brother Mark and her younger sister Marianna were both potential donors.
“There is only a one in four chance of having a donor in your family, and we technically have two because Marianna is a full or ideal match and Mark is a half match,” said Aronne.
Prior to the transplant Eleanor had chemotherapy as well as full body radiation. She then had the transplant the same day that the bone marrow was harvested from her sister. Her whole family was present at the hospital during the transplant.
The Brooks family stuck together and worked as a unit to make the best out of their situation.
“I think every single thing that happens for us in our family, everything is a big deal because when you are staring down the possibility of not being able to experience things, you appreciate everything else a bit more,” said Aronne.
In terms of school Eleanor was not able to attend full time. She was only able to attend school full time, without being in active treatment, in kindergarten, eighth grade, and this school