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A Tribute to Brooke Milander

Post Published: 08 August 2012
Author:
Category: Dear Thyroid Letters, Teens with Thyroid cancer
This post currently has 12 responses. Leave a comment

I’m not really sure where to begin. How can I even attempt to sum up the awesomeness of Brooke Milander in one article? Yet here I am writing, so those of you who didn’t know Brooke can have an insight into her beauty, and so those of you who did know her can smile as her memory continues to impact lives.

I first connected with Brooke on January 13, 2010. She’d had her thyroidectomy a few months prior and was getting ready for a treatment dose of radioactive iodine. She was sixteen years old, but was dealing with the combination of cancer and high school beautifully. How she handled herself with such grace, I’ll never know.

Brooke and I had this instant connection that I think only fellow thyroid cancer survivors can understand. She and I weren’t really close in age (I was 8 years older) and we didn’t have a ton of similar interests, but as young adults with cancer, we shared a bond that we didn’t share with anyone else. Before either of us had scans or tests or doctors appointments, we could send one short text message and the other person would “get it.” We didn’t have to explain the emotions we were feeling because we both just knew how the other was feeling.

Brooke was such a special young woman. She was so full of life. She loved all things Disney (especially Alice in Wonderland!), Johnny Depp, Lady Gaga, Kurt Cobain, Jared Leto…really the list could go on for days. She was so creative and dreamed of breaking into the film industry after college. She would have been so successful. Brooke was such a compassionate soul and genuinely cared about others. Any time she and I talked, she always asked about my life and showed so much excitement as things were going so well for me. She found a way to be happy about the good things although she was in the midst of such hardship.

In the unfairness that is life, my cancer mostly died off while Brooke’s continued to grow and spread. She bravely endured radioactive iodine, external beam radiation, multiple surgeries, and multiple types of chemotherapy. On July 26, 2012, Brooke Milander passed away at the young age of 19. Cancer is what caused Brooke’s death, but cancer did not win. Brooke will continue to impact lives. She inspires me to live my life to the fullest every single day and I will always carry her memory with me. So today, when you get out of bed, remember Brooke. When you’re faced with something hard, remember Brooke. When you feel too tired to keep going, remember Brooke. And still, when life seems to be going your way, remember Brooke. Remember her fighting spirit, her compassion, her fervor for life. Remember her and seize this day.

To Brooke.

“There is no such thing in anyone’s life as an unimportant day.” -Alexander Woolcott

All my love,

Joanna

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12 Responses to “A Tribute to Brooke Milander”

  1. Missy says:

    Thank you for sharing. May this be a reminder to all of us Survivors that even on our worse days, we need to remember we are still here. May Brooke rest peacefully.

  2. Kristine says:

    I don’t even know what to say but feel I need to say something…I have tears running down my face to think of how cancer has taken such a young and beautiful person so full of life…but her spirit lives on…even tho she is no longer on this Earth…she has touched my life…thru your words…it has given me the strength to keep fighting this horrible disease…thank you for posting this…

  3. Gina says:

    Im at a loss for words, which is unusual. I will keep Brooke’s loved ones and friends in thought and prayer. I will keep Brooke’s fight and courage in mind as I deal with my daily struggles. Bless her heart, what a beautiful person and young soul… Thank you for sharing her with us..

  4. Marie says:

    what a beautiful starry she was a fighter.
    She was a beautiful person Brooke is with the Angels.

  5. Laurie Thorpe says:

    what a lovely story to share, such inspiration. Good timing, while I am axiously awaiting the results of my most recent ultrasound to see if I need more surgery. Thank you for sharing, my thoughts and prayers are with Brooke and her family such a tragedy to loose someone so young, good grief that is the same age as my daughter. It tugs at my heart. Next time I see my beautiful daughter I will hug her tight and tell her how very much I love her.

    peace and blessings

    laurie

  6. Janet groves says:

    R.I.P Brooke we have lost a brave soul.

  7. Naomi says:

    This is simply beautiful!

  8. Taylor says:

    Brooke was a beautiful person. I keep her Christmas card on my desk that she gave me my freshman year in College. It was a year ago I met Brooke, and she really was an amazing person. And still is in spirit. To her family, I say stay strong, and know that Brooke will always be alive as long as they keep her in their thoughts. <3

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  10. Kriss Kovacs says:

    What a beautiful tribute to Brooke! And so heartbreaking. My thoughts and prayers go to her family and friends in the loss of such a young beautiful girl.

  11. Kim says:

    Brooke was

    Brooke,was always happy and never saw bad in anyone she was always positive and accepting of everyone.She loved all her animals which includes dogs,cats,fish and even a bunny rabbit. She lived life like there was no tomorrow and i never heard a regret out of
    her.I love her and miss her as if she were my own child.I went into the hospital for knee surgery the day she was suppose to have a checkup and when i got out of the hospital I foundout she had passed. I am so sorry Brooke that i wasn’t there if not for you at least for your mom.You are dearly missed and though my kids battle thyroid desease not cancer you will be the reason they get thyroid ultrasounds yearly. I love you Brooke.RIP </3

  12. Joyce Ann says:

    So sorry for your loss. 🙁

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