NEW PROVIDENCE, NJ – Four-year-old Brooke Healey, daughter of New Providence High School graduates Steve and Stefanie Healey, and granddaughter of Al Elefante, founder of Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts in New Providence, needs our help.
Brooke has been diagnosed with a brain tumor called a Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Giloma (DIPG). This has been confirmed with a CT scan as well as an MR scan by 6 different neuro oncologists and 7 different pediatric neuro surgeons. The DIPG itself has a 98% fatality rate. The DIPG is in the pons sack, which is located at the brain stem and controls all vital organs and even consciousness. In every attempt to operate and remove all or part of the tumor, there has been 0% that have survived the surgery. While radiation will help alleviate Brooke’s discomfort on a short-term basis, survival past 12 to 14 months is uncommon.
On Friday, Jan. 25, 2013, Dr. Mark M. Souweidane at Cornell Medical Center performed a biopsy on the tumor, a dangerous procedure under any circumstance, to determine the grade of the tumor. In a journal on Caring Bridge that the family is updating regarding Brooke’s ordeal, Steve Healy wrote, “It was a tough enough decision to go ahead with the surgery against the advice of many doctors and with the advice of doctors we had the most faith in. But to carry out the decision was pure torture. Not knowing if my baby would ever walk again or have some other kind of ailment or even worse because of our decision to move forward was the most gut wrenching experience I have fathomed in my life.”
After the biopsy on Friday, Steve Healey wrote, “If we want a miracle, one would certainly be this diagnosis from this biopsy come back as something other than a high grade Glioma. I hope their (sic) is not a lull in the prayers and support over the next few days. That would truly be a miracle. If that is not possible, our next miracle request would be that we beat this thing head on. We have some plans in place to start a path of treatment whatever the outcome. It would be a MUCH easier road if it were not a high grade Glioma.”
He continued, “Anyway, we have a long road ahead and need you guys to continue to rally behind us. We should have results in the next 3-4 days.”
“THANK YOU, THANK YOU, THANK YOU, for all your support and prayers. It really helps......but keep it coming!” Steve concluded.
Friends of the Healeys have formed a fundraising committee to help defray medical expenses as well as help support the family financially while both parents tend to Brooke’s care. A March 16th fundraising event is being planned at the Grand Summit Hotel.
A fund has also been set up for Brooke through The Heartworks Organization. 100% of the donations will go directly to the family. Visit www.njheartworks.org to make your donation online. Please be sure to put in the note section Brooke Healey. To mail a check, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publisher's Note: The Healeys and the Elefantes are some of the most generous and kind families we have encountered in our lives. They consistently give back to the New Providence community and never ask anything in return. They are salt of the earth people and represent the very best of New Providence, our hometown. In true Pioneer spirit, please join us in helping Brooke and the Healey and Elefante families in any way you can. Our thoughts and prayers, both in our household as well as the entire family of TheAlternativePress.com, are with them. - Mike and Lauryn Shapiro, New Providence, NJ