3/10/2013 – 7/3/2022
At the age of 8, a seemingly healthy Brody ran a 5K on Thanksgiving Day. He beat his sister and mother and in typical Brody fashion, he made sure to tell them to pick up the pace a bit for the next race. Only a few weeks later he was diagnosed with a disease we had never heard of…DIPG. On New Year’s Eve he was in a wheelchair and never walked without assistance again. That is how fast this monster spreads. DIPG truly is an evil tumor. It robs these kids and families from all the luxuries in life we take for granted.
Brody always kept a positive attitude, even when those of us around him were struggling. If he caught one of us crying, he would quickly tell us to “Toughen Up”. This became our motto during Brody’s battle. Several sports teams at his school have recently adopted “Toughen Up” as their team motto.
Brody was very brave during his treatments and truly was “Brave Like Brody”. In 6 months, Brody underwent 30 un-sedated radiation treatments, 5 surgeries, 3 intracranial infusions, and countless needle pokes.
Pre-diagnosis Brody had yet to find a sport he didn’t want to play. Brody played baseball, soccer, basketball, and flag football. He also ran cross country and was a great swimmer, earning a Triple Winner at the city wide All Star Meet in his last swim season. Brody was an avid athlete but also worked hard in the classroom. He LOVED his teachers and classmates and even during treatment, he kept up with his schoolwork and spent every minute he could in his classroom. After leaving a radiation treatment, he would often request to check in late to school, even if only for an hour or two. He was a math whiz and loved showing off his multiplication skills.
Brody loved the Tennessee Vols, Memphis Grizzlies, and the Tennessee Titans. He also loved taking trips and we took several in between his treatments. We took a ski trip to Colorado with several of his best friends and we saw the sights of Seattle during our time there. We saw the Titans play twice and he also got to see his first Grizzly playoff game (and win!). Thanks to the generosity of Make-A-Wish and Give Kids the World Village, we were able to make a visit to Orlando. Brody never did anything halfway or slow and he made sure this trip was no different. We visited 7 parks in 5 days and he loved every minute of it!
Brody was quite the jokester and his classmates would often commend him on his sense of humor. Even during treatments and ICU stays, he would keep the hospital staff laughing with his jokes. Brody had a big heart and loved his family more than anything. His 13-year-old sister, Taylor, was in many ways his hero and best friend. During his 6-month battle, he would often say, “Kicking cancer’s butt is easy with a family like ours.”
While Brody was receiving CAR-T cell treatment in Seattle, without prompting on a drive home from the hospital, he said the following: “Dad, if I had 3 wishes…First I would want you and mom to get promoted at work. Secondly, I want you, Mom, and Taylor to live forever. And lastly, I would like to have unlimited wishes.” Brody loved his entire family with his whole heart. Sister, parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins…he loved them all. The pain in our heart after losing our Brody is impossible to describe and no family should have to feel this pain.
We vow to keep up the fight with our family partnership with the ChadTough foundation to hopefully ensure one day no other family is forced to feel this pain. Every day is hard, but we will keep trying to take Brody’s advice and “Toughen Up” and continue to be “Brave Like Brody”.