Queensland, Philippines mother Brooke Balgowan has passed away after a long and courageous battle with a rare form of brain cancer known as Ependymoma. Her journey was marked by incredible strength, resilience, and unwavering determination in the face of this challenging and life-threatening illness.
Keep reading to know more about Brooke Balgowan’s journey in detail.
Brooke Balgowan passed away
In a heartbreaking announcement, Jacob Balgowan, the grieving husband of Brooke Balgowan, shared the devastating news of her passing on November 4, 2023. In a poignant tribute, he expressed that Brooke will be forever cherished and loved beyond words, leaving a void that can never be filled.
Dear Friends and Family it is with deep sadness and a heavy heart that I share with you the passing of my much loved Wife. Brooke BalgowanRyder and I will keep your memories alive everyday.You will be forever cherished and loved beyond words. RIP beautiful
Brooke’s Celebration of life will be announced in the coming days as the arrangements are being made with fitzroy funerals and the lighthouse baptist Church.
The Balgowan family and their loved ones are now left to grapple with the profound loss of a beloved wife, mother, and friend. Amidst this difficult time, plans for Brooke’s Celebration of Life are underway.
The family is working closely with Fitzroy Funerals and the Lighthouse Baptist Church to make the necessary arrangements for a heartfelt farewell. Friends, family, and well-wishers can expect details about the memorial service to be announced in the coming days, providing an opportunity for all those whose lives were touched by Brooke to come together, share their memories, and find solace in each other’s presence.
A Courageous Journey Against Ependymoma
In December 2020, Brooke Balgowan received the devastating news that she had been diagnosed with a rare and rapidly growing brain tumor. Her treatment plan included surgery to remove the tumor, followed by six weeks of radiation therapy, a procedure she had previously undergone.
Throughout this emotional and challenging time, Jacob, her supportive husband, left his job for six weeks to be with her. Due to the demands of caring for Brooke and with COVID-19 consuming his accrued annual leave, they needed to raise funds to cover out-of-pocket medical expenses and alleviate the financial strain. This support was also essential in caring for their one-year-old son, Ryder.
Brooke’s life had taken a series of unexpected turns over the past three years. In 2017, at the age of 18, she was diagnosed with a rare, fast-growing brain cancer known as grade 3 Anaplastic Ependymoma, located in her left parietal lobe. This diagnosis came as a shock to Brooke, her family, and friends. Her condition necessitated her transfer from Rockhampton to Brisbane for specialized medical care. She underwent an extensive six-hour brain surgery to remove the tumor, followed by a week of recovery and physiotherapy to regain her motor skills. Biopsy results confirmed the tumor was malignant, and the recommended treatment was radiotherapy.
After several weeks of recovery, Brooke returned to Brisbane with Jacob by her side for six weeks of precise image-guided radiation therapy. The treatment brought side effects, including fatigue, loss of appetite, and the loss of her blonde hair, which affected her self-confidence. However, with determination, motivation, and the unwavering support of her loved ones, Brooke maintained her positive and loving personality.
For almost three years, Brooke enjoyed the life she deserved, getting married, going on her honeymoon, and welcoming her first child, Ryder. Motherhood was a source of immense joy for her, despite the challenges that came with Ryder’s diagnosis of global development delay at 15 months old. Several months later, as Brooke experienced symptoms such as vision loss, dizziness, cognitive difficulties, and severe migraines, an MRI revealed the unexpected return of the tumor.
Another surgery was necessary to fully remove the tumor from her left parietal lobe. The procedure was successful, and Brooke’s recovery was remarkable, with her determination evident as she was up and walking around the day after surgery. This allowed her to reunite with her beloved son, whom she had missed dearly.
Overcoming Adversity with Courage and Love
After Brooke’s second surgery, she had to explore her options for post-operative care. Following several consultations with the oncology team, it became clear that chemotherapy was the only potential treatment option available. Unfortunately, it offered no discernible benefits for her specific cancer type. Moreover, there were limited completed clinical trials both in Australia and globally, making it challenging to predict whether chemotherapy could effectively prevent the cancer’s return. Despite the uncertain outlook, Brooke maintained optimism, hoping that the surgery alone would suffice to keep the tumor at bay.
Five months later, while at home on the weekend, Brooke began experiencing a severe headache and vision loss. She decided to lie down, but her condition quickly deteriorated. Jacob returned from work and discovered Brooke in the midst of a prolonged and distressing seizure, lasting for a full seven minutes. This was an immensely stressful situation, with a baby requiring attention simultaneously while tending to Brooke’s medical needs. The ambulance arrived promptly, stabilizing Brooke before transporting her to the Rockhampton Base Hospital.
A CT scan was conducted to assess potential brain damage or bleeding. Regrettably, the results indicated that the seizure was a consequence of the tumor’s rapid and aggressive resurgence in a remarkably short time frame. Subsequently, Brooke was airlifted to a hospital in Brisbane for continuous monitoring and potential surgical intervention. She was prescribed steroids and anti-seizure medication to reduce swelling and manage seizures.
The MRI results obtained in Brisbane revealed that the tumor had reappeared just three months after her last surgery, and it had been growing for an additional two months. This renewed growth had now extended further, covering a significant portion of her occipital lobe and her left parietal lobe.Despite her challenging situation, Brooke, being the wonderful mother she was, expressed her desire to return home to spend Christmas with her family and loved ones. Given the staffing limitations at the hospital during that time, this option seemed more appealing. Brooke’s Christmas wish was granted, and she had the opportunity to enjoy the holiday with her little family and her cherished loved ones.
After Christmas Day, she returned to the Brisbane hospital for yet another demanding brain surgery.In 2021, Brooke faced her third surgery, with two of them being due to the reappearance of this aggressive cancer. Considering the recent tumor recurrence in just three months, the oncology team and neurosurgeons deliberated that another round of radiation therapy would be Brooke’s best and only post-operative treatment option.
Remembering Brooke Balgowan
Following her discharge, Brooke continued her therapy sessions, valuing every moment spent with her devoted husband and beloved son. Despite the immense challenges she faced, her unwavering determination and deep love for her family were a source of inspiration to all who knew her.
Tragically, in the face of this relentless battle against the aggressive cancer, Brooke has now passed away. Her legacy of resilience and the love she shared with her family will forever be remembered and cherished by those whose lives she touched. While her physical presence may be gone, the impact she made on the hearts of her loved ones remains a powerful and enduring testament to her strength and the enduring bonds of family. Brooke’s memory lives on as a reminder of the preciousness of every moment and the importance of the love and support of family during life’s most challenging times.
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Rohini (Editor) is a content writer with 3 years of experience in content writing. She joined Medico Topics on the Breaking News trainee scheme in 2022 and now works on MedicoTopics.com. She possesses a keen interest in political and entertainment matters, including the latest and most widely circulating celebrity rumors, and comprehensive resources on the wealth of renowned actors, athletes, players, and politicians around the globe.