Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Brooklyn Mills

Lovely Brooklyn

Yoga! I do this every morning

Fund Raiser with Local Businessmen. Thanks Guys!


"If however, we continue to ignore the tremendous problems that the world faces, as is our custom, and are going to continue in this pattern of unrestricted population growth, I need to point out that we need more cheerleaders. They bring nothing but joy and happiness into the world... and cheerfulness, as their name would imply. Less politicians, pizza CEOs, bankers, Republicans, Tea Baggers, war profiteers, hedge fund managers, Texas governors, Representatives from Minnesota, reality show TV contestants and hosts, and more cheerleaders. They're much more energetic and easy to get along with than Mitch McConnell for instance, who's always causing trouble.
My friend Mike after reviewing this post, said he likes cheerleaders too. This pretty much proves my point." -Richard Joyce, Joyce's Take, "7 Billion For Halloween," Oct 31, 2011.

"Cheerleading originated in the United States, and remains a predominantly American activity, with an estimated 1.5 million participants in all-star cheerleading. The growing presentation of cheerleading as a sport to a global audience has been led by the 1997 start of broadcasts of cheerleading competition by ESPN International and the worldwide release of the 2000 film Bring it On. Due in part to this recent exposure, there are now an estimated 100,000 participants scattered around the rest of the world in countries including Australia, Canada, China, Colombia, Finland, France, Germany, Japan, the Netherlands, New Zealand and the United Kingdom." -Wikipedia.

So there's approximately 1,600,000 cheerleaders on the Earth today. 1,600,000. 1,600,000 out of 7 billion. That's only 0.022857142857142857% of the total population of humans on the planet. That's way less than one percent!
COME ON PEOPLE! We can do better than that!
That's one of the reasons why Brooklyn Mills' story is so important, other than the terrible disease this beautiful young woman has contracted at such an early age, and the lousy predicament the Health Ministry of Canada has put her and her lovely family in.
Brooklyn. What a lovely name. It reminds me of a snow crested New York City for some reason. I don't know why.
Brooklyn used to be a cheerleader (picture above) at Oakville Trafalgar High School, in Oakville, Ontario. That's in Canada. If the Canadian high school grades are the same as they are (or were... it's been a long time since I was in high school) in the States, then she was a senior in the twelfth grade, and probably looking forward to going to college, where hopefully she would have continued her cheerleading career. However, one morning in October of 2009, Brooklyn woke with horrible lower back pain. She didn't know why. Neither did her parents, Rebecca and Kris Mills.
In a few months she became severely debilitated. She needed a wheelchair to get around, and was taking heavy pain medication. Her mom and dad moved a hospital bed into the living room because it hurt too much for Brooklyn to walk or move around (the medication for pain she was taking, her mother said, was of the kind that is often given to cancer patients in their final stages, and her body was atrophying from being confined to bed).
She was only 16 years old.
The lower back pain Brooklyn experienced took them from their pediatrician to countless doctors and specialists. She was hospitalized at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children in Hamilton and then after related symptoms were recognized through a cardiologist, the diagnosis of EDS was made.
Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome, is a genetic disorder of connective tissue that seriously affects joints and blood vessels, weakening the muscles and making the patients vulnerable to infections. A rare disease, which in it's most prevalent form affects only 1 in 5,000.
In a peculiarity of the Canadian health care system, being under the age of majority, she was not allowed to enter intensive pain management programs. While the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota... that's in the United States... did agree on letting her participate in an intensive pain-management program that didn’t include taking any narcotic drugs, the nearly $50,000 cost of treatment was denied by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan (OHIP).
In February of this year the Mills family and friends held an entertainment/auction with the proceeds going toward Brooklyn's treatment (another picture above).
“It was incredible,” Rebecca said. “We had over 700 people participating and got $32,000 in fundraising.”
The event made Brooklyn's admission into the narcotic-free pain management program possible.
For nearly a month, Brooklyn worked long days with other teens affected by chronic pain, learning a holistic approach to pain management in a medical setting and under medical supervision. Her family was nearby, Rebecca staying at the nearby Ronald McDonald House.
The Mills family gladly paid the $50,000 for the cost of the pain clinic, money of which they have not been reimbursed by the Ontario health system. As a matter of fact, they’ve been refused twice.
The pain management regimen worked... for a short time. She regained the ability to walk and even continued her studies at Oakville High. She relapsed in about a month though, around April and May.
The Mayo Clinic couldn’t do anything about it anymore. Brooklyn was admitted to a hospital in Toronto for 8 weeks. She was back in a wheelchair, and needed to be fed through a tube. Her condition appeared hopeless. But her parents wouldn’t quit. Why would they?
Brooklyn’s case was sent to a specialist in Maryland, back in the States. The Mills were told that their daughter had brainstem/spinal issues that needed surgical treatment. Brooklyn was moved to Maryland for treatment where she had four major surgeries involving her brainstem/spinal cord, and a few minor ones. That was last October. While she is healing from surgeries, Brooklyn can now walk a little, and her psychological condition is getting better too.
“It may be four to six months that she heals from surgeries,” Rebecca says. “There was a time when she went almost blind and her limbs would go numb, losing sensitivity to touch. But she is gradually getting better, though ESD is likely to stay with her for long, for the kind of disease that it is.”
Like many of us here in the United States who have no insurance, or are under insured, a major obstacle toward Brooklyn's recovery was the cost of her treatment. While her local community as well as the general public has been very supportive of the family, the Ontario government still has to decide whether it will bear the costs incurred by her treatment in the US. Rebecca has said that they do need money for their daughter’s treatment but they are not going to ask for donations until they learn from the Canadian government if it will do the right thing and cover the costs, and how much they will cover.
“All we need for now from the people is prayers,” says mom.
Meanwhile, as Brooklyn Mills struggles to get her life back. Her courage, stamina, and drive are certainly a major inspiration to me, as I'm sure they are to you, dear readers.
Here is a link to a petition asking Ontario’s health minister to cover Brooklyn’s medical care for EDS.
And links to two sites concerning her disease (if you insist on donating toward Brooklyn's recovery, please do so at the first link below, as the Mills family has associated themselves with the ILC Foundation. Thank you.):


Why am I advocating for this one girl when literally millions are in need throughout the world? There are several reasons really. First I like her. Her courage, stamina, and drive are an inspiration to me. Second It breaks my heart to hear about, or see her so ill. This young, beautiful girl... this woman, she's over 18 now, should be out enjoying life and befuddling the minds of boys which young ladies do so well. Third, I can advocate for those other millions as well, all at the same time, and will continue to do so. And fourth, but not last (this list is not exhaustive), she's a cheerleader! And maybe her future daughter will follow in her moms footsteps.
And as I've said so many times we need all of the cheerleaders we can get (...and bellydancers)!
They bring nothing but joy and happiness into the world... and cheerfulness, as their name would imply.

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for helping spread the word about Brooklyn.

    -- Sue Anne, Care2