According to a story from the Chillicothe Gazette, twelve-year-old Brooke Hopkins has already had to face chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy and a devastating injury in her young life. However, through all of the challenges, the girl has always recovered with a strong will and determination of spirit that serves to inspire her family and friends.
Back in 2015, Brooke lived an active lifestyle. Although she was a soft spoken girl of few words, her demeanor concealed a passionate competitive spirit that she regularly displayed while playing softball and basketball. Unfortunately, her chronic inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy (CIDP), began to set in and eventually ended her sports participation as she lost her coordination. This disorder affects the nervous system, and appears to occur when the body’s immune system begins to attack nerve cells. This disrupts the ability of these cells to function, causing symptoms such as fatigue, strange sensations, loss of reflexes, loss of sensation in the hands and feet, pain, and progressive muscle weakness. Click here to learn more about CIDP.
Brooke was in the hospital for two months in 2016 receiving treatment. Her mother Susan says that she could tell that her doctors were skeptical that she would retain the ability to walk. She started her fifth grade year of school in a wheelchair, but despite this she was eventually able to walk again, to the delight of Susan and her father Mark. Months later, Mark and Brooke enjoyed a father-daughter dance at her school, and in that moment, it seemed like things were getting back to normal for the Hopkins.
Unfortunately, the stability would be short lived. In August 2017, the Hopkins were prepping a cross country course for the school’s meet on their property. Brooke and her older sister Cindy, along with some other friends, wanted to take some four wheelers for a spin. The parents agreed, as long as the drivers did not go very fast. Brooke still had unusually weak grip strength thanks to her CIDP. Tragically, an abrupt maneuver caused her to lose her hold, and she collided face first with a tree.
She was lucky to survive; unfortunately, she was not wearing a helmet, and the impact had fractured some skull bones, which severed her carotid artery and caused a massive stroke. She had lost much of her hearing and eyesight on her left side, and also experienced blood clots and a broken femur that has yet to fully heal. After spending time in an intensive care unit, doctors once again made the mistake of doubting Brooke’s determination.
Although she needs a walker to get around now, Brooke is still on her feet. Through it all, her sister Cindy has been one of her greatest supporters, along with the rest of her family, classmates, and friends. Recently, Mark recalls a simple moment with the family, when they were just sitting around the dinner table, talking and laughing.
“I thought the laughter was gone from my life,” Mark said. “How happy I am that it’s back.”