When Allison and Dan Reynolds first heard the cries from their beautiful daughter Brookie, they couldn’t have been more excited to bring her home to their growing family. After a perfect pregnancy and great birth all signs pointed to a healthy baby, but as the months progressed and Brookie continuously failed to meet her milestones, it became clear that something wasn’t right. By the time Brookie was a year old, she was diagnosed with Spastic Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, a diagnosis that although it would rock Allison and Dan’s world, it would also change their lives for the better.
Spastic Quadriplegia is the most serious and debilitating form of Cerebral Palsy, affecting all four quadrants of the body and usually resulting in seizures and lack of voluntary control. When the Reynolds first heard those words come out of the doctor’s mouth, they were in denial and shock as any parent would be and decided to seek out a second opinion. Within five minutes of meeting Brookie, her doctor at Children’s confirmed their worst fears that the initial diagnosis was correct. Allison immediately walked out and found herself walking the halls of Children’s for over three hours, but throughout it all she knew she had to take a stand. She told her daughter that, “impossible is nothing and I promise you that my goal in life is for you to wake up every morning and be happy and for you to go to sleep every night and be happy.” Right there, the motto for Smiles for Brookie was born: “Impossible is Nothing.”
Although Brookie is unable to fully take care of herself, she continues to reach milestones like rolling over and being able to feed herself, that have shown her doctor’s the determination that is inside this little girl. Due to Brookie’s inability to push enough air out for speech, she is non-verbal and relies on private speech therapy to help her verbal skills grow. Despite this minor hiccup, she has never let this stop her from communicating with her friends and family. Communication is more than just spoken language and Brookie has developed a system to speak with her eyes, motion for what she wants and form words with her lips, all on top of the aid of her communication device. While a normal kindergarten girl might be joining Girl Scouts or taking Ballet classes, Brookie spends her time going to physical, occupational and speech therapies, with weekly hippotherapy, swim therapy, Anat Baniel Method and school therapies. In 2014, Brookie was surprised by “The Doctors” and the Make Lemon Aide for Cerebral Palsy foundation with a vital, but incredibly expensive surgery, SPML or selective percutaneous myofascial lengthening. By reducing her spasticity, this has helped to make Brookie stronger and more capable of reaching her goals, one of which Brookie has recently accomplished. This past month, she has started walking with a Gait walker, a feat that not only allows her to practice her walking, but also continuously strengthens her muscles and provides her more independence. While this may seem menial to anybody else, to Allison and Dan this is the world.
Despite her diagnosis and her initial prognosis, Brookie never ceases to live her life happily and to the fullest. While the road may get tough along the way, Brookie, her parents and her brother Tyler are there to conquer it and to prove that impossible is nothing.
You can support Brookie and her family over at the b Positive Project by buying a tee in support of awareness and to help a great cause!