Brooke’s Blossoms

In CHS’s Schweitzer Gym, around 20 students turned out Feb. 22 to make about 50 floral headbands for kids with cancer. They assembled five fabric flower petals, stacking them from largest to smallest, glued them together, set a plastic diamond in the middle, and attached it to the headband.

They were students in CHS’s Project Unify, an organization French teacher Jessica Purdum and Special Education (SPED) teacher Sarah Call advise. Project Unify matches special needs kids with general education students, and they team up to do projects. Purdum heard about “Brooke’s Blossoming Hope” and said that it was something they could do as group.

Senior Janine Akers and freshman Colin Christensen display finished headbands for Brooke’s Foundation.

The Brooke’s Blossoming Hope Foundation is a non-profit volunteer fundraiser designed to bring awareness to childhood cancer. Its motto is “Planting seeds of Faith, Love, and Hope for Cures … One Smile at a Time!” The students who participated in Brooke’s Blossoms made about 50 headbands.

The Foundation started when seven-year old Brooke Hester, the daughter of  Jessica Hester, was diagnosed with stage IV Neuroblastoma cancer. Jessica thought that childhood cancer was not being recognized enough.

Brooke had always had a love for flowers, and before she was diagnosed she would pick flowers and stick them in her hair. When she was going through a rough time with her cancer, she was given a flower headband that she loved. When she met a friend at another hospital, she gave the headband to her because it made her happy.

Brooke decided to start the charity, and to spread the word about childhood cancer. They started to take donations of headbands for the girls, and hats for the boys, who were losing their hair.

Donors to Brooke’s Blossoms receive a box of headbands and fabric flower petals to form a headband. When finished making headbands, Brooke’s Blossoming Hope Foundation sends the headbands to Cancer Centers around the world. Then they are given to the little girls who are losing their hair.

Leanne Cozzens, a SPED teacher at CHS, knew Brooke and called her “extended family.” Brooke died about a year and a half ago at age eight, and ever since, Cozzens said, “When my family gets together, we always make time for Brooke’s Blossoms. Before Brooke passed away she traveled around the world doing public speaking and did a lot of amazing things.”

Mrs. Cozzens displays headbands students and she made for Brooke’s Blossoms.

Another CHS student , junior Samantha Gray, was 13 months old when she was diagnosed with the same cancer (Neuroblastoma stage IV) as Brooke .  

“I am lucky to be alive today,” Gray said.

Gray has been cancer free since 2002 and works with her horses everyday, participating in competition with them.

Gray had never heard about the Brooke’s Blossoming Hope Foundation, but said, “I support another foundation called Alex’s Lemonade that raises money for kids with cancer. I think it is great that they have foundations like this.”

To learn more about Brooke’s Blossoming Hope, or to make a donation, go to http://www.brookesblossoms.org/  and you can put a smile on a kid’s face.