Four-year old Brooke Healey, daughter of Steve and Stefani, of New Providence was diagnosed in January of 2013 with DIPG - Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma. It's an inoperable tumor located in the Pons sack located at the top of the brain stem. The Pons is responsible for all vital functions and any attempt to operate and remove the tumor has been 100% fatal. It’s very aggressive and quickly affects a child's motor skills.
Steve and Stefani grew up in New Providence, and Stefani is part of her family’s local business — Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts. Steve is a middle school teacher and high school coach in Madison.
Brooke made it through an extremely risky biopsy and radiation therapy, and is being treated with steroids that come with a host of side effects. None of this is a “cure,” so the Healeys are exploring every option for alternative treatments for their daughter. They are facing this, all while trying to keep Brooke and her 6-year-old brother, Ashton, and 2-year-old sister, Bryn, feel as normal, comfortable, and as happy as possible.
They have a tremendous support system and are in touch with the top doctors in the field, but there are hefty costs along the way. A group of family members and close friends, plus members of the various communities touched by the Healey family have been fundraising through this journey. The money raised will be used for bills not covered by insurance and a multitude of unexpected and mounting expenses associated with Brooke’s treatment and the family’s well being.
Brooke joined our Steps Together family to spread her prayer chain and awareness of the events surrounding her. Brooke fought incredibly for 8 months. In her honor, the family has started a foundation.
In Honor of Brooke
"The Brooke Healey Foundation was created to build awareness and raise funds for research in DIPG; to help families dealing with pediatric cancers, especially brain cancers and DIPG; to foster community relationships and to promote involvement through scholarships awarded to civically active high school seniors.
The Foundation exists in honor of 5-year-old Brooke Healey, daughter of Steve and Stefani, who was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma (DIPG), an inoperable, very aggressive tumor in the middle of the brain stem (the Pons) on January 14, 2013. She passed away on September 9, 2013.
During the 8 months of Brooke’s brave fight against DIPG, she never complained and continued to bring smiles to everyone with her larger than life personality. Her battle inspired people from all over the world who came together in support of Brooke, the Healey family and each other.
This type of tumor only affects children, and there is currently no cure for DIPG. In fact, pediatric brain tumors have a survival rate of less than 20%.
Research in this area is greatly underfunded. Families facing DIPG have very few resources or options.
We will change both of these facts. We will help find a cure for DIPG. Until then, we will help make life just a little easier for those who are dealing with the disease."
More information can be found at www.BrookeHealey.com