February 22, 2019
Ewing’s Sarcoma is a rare disease in which cancer cells are located in soft tissues and bones, commonly in the pelvis area. Recently, junior Brooklan Phillips, was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma. After being sidelined for the majority of the track season and multiple doctor visits, a tumor was discovered in her pelvis where the hamstring connects to the bone. The tumor weakened the bone causing a fracture. Fortunately, being an athlete and knowing something was wrong may have saved her life. She was an active participant in sports and clubs within CHS, but was forced to leave to focus on her health. With prayers and help from the community and family, Brooklan begins on her road to recovery. Now, even though she may be weak at the current moment, her passion for returning to good health is strong. Some words of advice from Julie Phillips, “know your body, if you think something get checked out and don’t quit pushing for answers don’t wait until it is too late.”
The reality of being diagnosed with cancer is truly devastating, and it affects everyone related to the diagnosed. “It was the worst news I have ever received as a parent,” Julie recalled, “All the ‘what if’s’ go through your mind, the decisions that need made, choosing the right doctors and then everyone has an opinion of where you should get treatment”. Brooklan and her older sisters are very close and it has taken a toll on them. “It is hard for them to stay focused on school when their baby sister in fighting for her life. It is also hard when they come home and they have to ‘babysit’ because Brooklan needs someone to look after her most of the time. She has good days between chemo cycles but for the most part someone needs to be there,” Julie explained.
One major contributor in the success of Brooklan’s path to recovery has been the community. In the midst of Brooklan’s diagnosis, Julie had been remodeling her kitchen, but had to postpone her plans. “The city of Connersville came together and finished my kitchen, PTC ministries built a wheel chair ramp, Franks Excavating poured a new side walk and many, many people donated to make these things happen,” Julie stated. The community has also assisted with fundraisers which fund the travel and food expenses.
Being an important part of CHS, Julie corresponded with students and teachers to fulfill all of her expectations. “Due to the extensive treatments, I am in out of the building more. I still continue to meet the job expectations, by coordinating and relying on my team to help meet students’ needs,” Julie explained. Since she is the Food Pantry Coordinator, many of our students rely on her and the efforts of the pantry. “Volunteers have been a huge help in keeping the pantry going when in need[…] I continue to communicate with my team via emails even in my absence, we had an intern first semester that helped by meeting with students when I was out. The counselors have been amazing following up with my students, as well,” Julie explains.
Brooklan’s diagnosis has been hard, but she does not let it stop her from pursuing her goals. Many aspects of her life has changed and she missed the sports and friends that attend CHS. As her journey continues, her project recovery time shortens. “My treatments last ten to twelve months; follow up treatment for the first year is every three months and if no evidence of disease, it will slow down,” Brooklan explained.
The physical demand of Sarcoma is a struggle for Brooklan, “It made it hard to walk, get out of bed, and it makes me extremely tired and sick all of the time,” explained Brooklan. The diagnosis has also affected her emotionally. “It’s very hard because I watched all my hair fall out and I can’t do anything with my friends due to chemo. Its hard to be a kid,” Brooklan emphasized.
Brooklan has her eyes on the horizon with many new goals as the new year on its way. “I hope to be cancer free and get back to track and volleyball and to graduate on time since I’ve only taken three classes this year,” Brooklan stated. The community has played a major role in the emotional support of Brooklan. “They have all been really helpful by either letting me know their thinking of me and [are] here for me or attending fundraisers. Just knowing everyone cares and wants to help is helpful,” Brooklan explained.