At six years old, Brooke was diagnosed with gelastic seizures – a term used to describe partial seizures with bouts of uncontrolled laughing or giggling. An MRI confirmed the cause - a hyperthlamic hamartoma, a type of benign brain tumour, right in the centre of her brain.
At age nine, Brooke underwent surgery and 80% of her tumour was successfully removed. Before surgery she had been experiencing 30 to 40 seizures a day and her cognitive skills had deteriorated to preschool level. She also suffered from uncontrollable rage and precocious puberty, for which she had to have monthly hormone injections.
With removal of most of the tumour, Brooke’s condition improved significantly. Sadly, at age 13, the seizures returned and she had to endure a second brain surgery in Melbourne.
LYNETTE SADLEIR’S LIFE-CHANGING RESEARCH
In July 2018, Brooke took part in an international drug trial for CBD gel. The trial was part of neurologist Lynette Sadleir’s research work.
For Brooke, this gel has been extremely successful and life changing. She went from having 70 seizures per month, which lasted up to 20 minutes, to 10 seizures per month lasting only 30 seconds to a minute.
In addition to the reduction in seizures, Brooke noticed a huge reduction in tiredness. This allowed her to concentrate more at school. Her comprehension and writing greatly improved, along with her confidence.
People commented on the difference they saw in Brooke in all aspects of her life.
BROOKE’S ON A MISSION TO HELP OTHERS
Brooke is now studying at Massey University, where she’s studying for a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Educational Psychology. She’s flatting in Palmerston North with friends she met in the university halls.
Brooke is thoroughly enjoying university and living an independent life, something that seemed impossible a few years ago. She continues with her love of music, enjoys playing netball and maintains a high level of fitness. Brooke has also become more social and outgoing, as she no longer has to worry about having seizures all the time.
“Being a Cure Kids ambassador has allowed Brooke to share her story of what she has been though. She has been able to spread awareness of her condition and support her neurologist with her research. This experience has helped grow her leadership skills and confidence to where she was a prefect in her last year at school. This experience has helped shaped her goal with her studies, which is to become a Hospital Play Specialist, as she has experienced the great work they do with children and would like to help others in this way.” Shona, Brooke’s mum.