In Honor of Brooke

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Brooke’s Story

Be humble in the presence of God's mighty power, and he will honor you when the time comes.  God cares for you, so turn all your worries over to him.   
1 Peter 5: 6-7

Welcome to Brooke's CaringBridge page! Please visit often to read entries, view photos or write a guestbook note!  (or send a note: Want to send Brooke a note? Her home address is: P.O. Box 154, Chapman Ranch, TX 78347

When your child is diagnosed with cancer, your life stops, changes course, and begins instead toward a path to do anything & everything to help your baby.

Brooke is our baby; this is her story... Brooke is 6 years old and loves pink, ponies, cats and dogs, and dinosaurs. She wants to be a veterinarian when she grows up. Brooke was always a healthy child with ear infections as her biggest hurdle. She had a great summer in 2010 and even learned how to swim! By August, a few, sporadic things began to occur. First she had a couple of strange, unexplained fevers. We thought perhaps it was her ears, or a bladder infection, but those tests came back negative. Then she had a couple of intermittent times she made a "volcano" (what she calls getting sick to her stomach)...again with no real pattern or explanation. In late September, she started having a strange limp and her right knee was becoming swollen, and it was getting harder for her to walk. By the time she had stopped walking completely, and not even crawling because of the pain, the pediatrician's initial diagnosis was Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and he immediately wanted her to stay home and wait to see a pediatric rheumatologist. Meanwhile, Brooke had begun rapidly losing weight with less appetite, and at 3, she was barely crawling, or pulling up and holding her back, but she only complained of knee and tummy pain. A sonogram, nuclear scans, MRI/MRU and later tests revealed a large mass in her abdomen pressing on her left kidney, spine, and internal organs. They told us it may be a kidney stone...

On November 18, 2010, our lives forever changed. Brooke was diagnosed with stage 4, high risk Neuroblastoma, which is a form of nervous system cancer that had spread to her bone marrow.

We have faced this battle armed with prayer warriors, friends and family ready to help pull her through. Financially it has been incredibly challenging as we have gone from a two income, one home family to a family separated by thousands of miles trying to maintain two places to live and receive health care for Brooke on one salary.  We spent an entire year living at the Ronald McDonald House in New York for the surgery of the mass and to battle the bone marrow cancer through clinical trials.  While daddy has been home most of the time working and maintaining insurance coverage, Brooke and her mom have been home for only a few weeks in the past two years as we now have Brooke at the Helen DeVos Children's Hospital in Michigan seeking new hope in a ground breaking NMTRC genomics trial and personalized medicine against her aggressive type of recurrent stage IV cancer.  We are still praying for remission daily!!

Although now she is 6 and a half, Brooke continues to bravely fight this battle and our family has set up a special charitable account, the "Brooke Hester Donation Fund" at any Wells Fargo branch. 

Our faith is strong and we BELIEVE in the power of prayer!

Thank you for supporting our Brooke through her journey!

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Latest Journal Update

3 weeks & 3 days

My heart is broken in more ways than anyone can imagine. Only God knows and can give me comfort.

Revelations 21:4

Trying to fathom how much my heart longs for my sweet Brooke - just to see her, or touch her, or experience her joyous laughter once more - all while trying not to break down in front of Benjamin who asks (only me) about her single every day and especially at night at bedtime... or to try not to become so broken and sad that the pure emotional and physical pain of grieving the loss of my firstborn baby stresses the unborn baby girl now growing within me - is also an indescribable pain in itself. Then as I try my best to hold it together to be a wife and daughter, friend and even advocate for other children battling cancer, just trying to go through the basic routines of what should be a normal day, I feel like I am constantly failing everyone around me in my state of being numb and missing my child despite the fact that I know she is safe and completely healed in Jesus arms. I am just broken and miss her so much that I cannot put into words how I feel nonstop all day and all night as I awaken in hot sweats hurting and wishing Brooke were still here to go into her bright and happy pretty-in-pink embellished bedroom to check on. Instead I keep the door locked for right now until I can bear it.

I so much appreciate each and every single note of love, spoken or unspoken act of kindness, and each prayer... and I KNOW that I cannot say thank you enough times or adequately to ALL who have impacted my life as Brooke's mother. I have so much deep gratitude that I find it extremely challenging to even sit and write thank you notes without pouring into tears and even then, I end up throwing them away for feeling they are terribly inadequate at saying how I feel and I try to rewrite them again.

My greatest hope is that God will help me to be as strong as Brooke was and that I can be the best person I can be to help others, the best mother I possibly can to my other children (even the unborn baby within me), the best daughter to my parents, and the best wife I can be for my husband. I know I have failed and will continue fail and fall short, as that is what we do as imperfect humans, and yet this is still my constant unending prayer: to have the kind of deeply patient love and joy my sweet daughter had for everyone she ever met, to smile as much as I can every day without fear of the unknown, and to have ultimate compassion for everything and everyone, despite my own narrow perspective of life as I see it through my tear stained eyes. I want to always seek the beauty of hope and the light of faith and know that no matter what, everything is and always will be okay through the love of our Heavenly Father.

I just miss my baby girl so so very much...

I wish I could kiss her cheek and tell her goodnight and how much I love her tonight. But just like I always told Brooke, when she would ask me, "when will we get to go home again..." it will happen "in God's time" and "when it is His will for us to go home, we will." This life is but a short, temporary backyard to the glory of Heaven which Benjamin calls "up up" and in God's time I know I will see Brooke again. I just have to be patient and strong until that day comes when I go before Jesus and hope that my life was worthy enough to join my smiling daughter at His side. <><

Tomorrow will mark exactly 14 years of marriage and 15 years of a relationship for us, and Beau, I want you to know how very much I love you. ❤️
177 people hearted this



Rita Sarasua
By Rita Sarasua
You don't know me but I have followed you and Brooke for some time. I believe I became aware of your circumstances through Ava's mother. You and Brooke have been shinning examples of courage, kindness, and faith and I have learned so much from you both. May God bless you and your family and above all, Brooke, who in her short life,touched the lives of many others as if she lived to be 100.
Gail F.
By Gail F.
hugs and healing wishes
Ronda Kaucher
By Ronnie
Can't imagine your pain. Praying for you and all who knew and loved your precious daughter.
Joyce Nosker
By Joyce Nosker
Praying for you Jessica.
Jennifer Southwell
By Jennifer Southwell
I am so sorry for your loss. These words sound so simple, but I truly pray for your family. I pray that The Lord will give you comfort and peace. Allow yourself to grieve; it is part of the healing process. I don't know what you are going through, but a neighbor lost her daughter when I was young. When i got older, I asked her how she was able to go on, and she said because she had four other kids to care for, but I did my grieving at night when all of the kids were asleep. After you put your son to bed, allow yourself to cry. Thank you notes can wait until you are ready to write them. I don't think anybody expects a thank you note at this time. You have lots of people praying for you to feel the ultimate comfort from our Lord and Savior.
marilyn bergagnini
By marilyn bergagnini
Marie Winters
By Marie Winters
Wishing you Happy Anniversary. There is no right or wrong way to grieve, and don't let anyone tell you different. Everyone is different. And even the same person will grieve differently each time they face a loved one's passing. Will continue to lift you in prayer for peace in your heart. I've never gone through the loss of a child, yet my heart aches for you. I cannot even begin to imagine the pain. Just know that there are many people, some whom you've never met, that are holding you close in their hearts and prayers.
1 person hearted this
Diane Santino
By Diane Santino
Praying for your peace.
Rebecca Dietz
By Rebecca Dietz
Jessica, I know you will find this hard to believe and it seems unfathomable to imagine that one day, the pain you are feeling right now will be lesser and more bearable. I have never experienced the loss of a child but have watched my mother after she did and know how she described it and how it impacted her life. Don't believe any of the lies that the enemy puts in your mind about failing to do anything right. Right now, you are wounded and need only to focus on asking God every waking moment for the strength and peace to get you through this. We have to go through the valleys to reach the mountain tops, we have to feel pain to be able to offer others comfort. Find comfort in God's promises to heal your broken heart, to never give you more than you can bear, to turn these ashes into beauty. It's not over yet Jessica, God is molding you and preparing you for something even bigger than you could have imagined. His glory will not only be magnified in sweet little Brooke's life but in yours too. You are a worthy child of God Jessica and you are an incredibly strong and inspring mother. Brooke knew more love in her short life than some people will in their entire life. When you feel weak, look to the face of Jesus and lean on the arms of all of the friends and family that will support you through this darkest of times. I pray for you and your family hoping that you can continue to find the peace of God surrounding you and lifting you up.
2 people hearted this
Sandy Daron
By Sandy
Happy Anniv. to you and Beau. Praise God for the SOLID Foundation of Christ you built your marriage on. HE is the only one that can ease the loss of your sweet Brooke.. I pray slowly, but surely the Lord Jesus will replace the painful memories with the sweet ones and comfort you in your engulfing grief.

“’Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,’ says the Lord, who has compassion on you.” Isaiah 54:10

Love ya,
C.O.L.E.s Foundation (Caring Openly, Loving Eternally)
Say A Prayer, Send A Smile, Make A Difference
1 person hearted this