Photo courtesy of Mark Pearson
Brooke Pearson

Mark Pearson wants people to remember his daughter Brooke beyond her cancer.

“She was extremely thoughtful, especially for her friends,” Pearson said. “She stood up to bullies. She stood up for her friends that were being bullied. That’s why we called her ‘warrior princess’ — not because of this. This was thrust upon her. Everything else she did was because of who she was.”

More than eight months after Brooke was diagnosed with Leptomeningeal Disease (LMD), the 14-year-old P.S./I.S. 119 student died on Jan. 28 in her family home in Glendale.

“She loved life and she didn’t deserve a fraction of what she went through,” Pearson said.

On Jan. 31 and Feb. 1, the Pearsons will be holding a “Celebration of Life” in lieu of a funeral.

“So we’re not looking for anybody to be dressed up in, you know, formal black and ties,” Pearson said.

Instead, attendees are asked to don colorful and comfortable clothes in honor of Brooke, including the signature “Team Brooki” shirts that many bought to raise money for the teen.

“If people came across and met her and knew her they would know that she was never the dress type. She was always down to earth, always wearing jeans and comfortable clothes,” her father said.

Pearson shared that their strong support systems on social media and in person have been integral in getting them through their difficult journey,

“It’s been instrumental in trying to keep our sanity. People [have been] sharing that they’re going through some similar experiences. Most of it was people reaching out to help. We had people fundraising for us, people dropping off food, willing to do errands for us, food shopping, you name it. The outpouring was amazing both local and abroad,” he said.

He added that their “large family” in England has also helped to fundraise for the Pearsons all the way across the pond.

While their experience is something that Pearson hopes no parents ever have to go through, the father and president of the 104th Precinct Civilian Observation Patrol (GCOP) hopes to help others who are in a similar position.

Since they posted the latest update about Brooke on the Team Brooki Facebook page, Pearson said that many people battling the same cancer have reached out for information and support.

“I’ve gotten more people reaching out to me that are faced with the disease now that she was faced with, also running into the same obstacles of there not being enough information out there,” he said.

His wish is to help others by collecting information about each person he speaks to, including their “stumbling blocks” and sharing their own experiences in order to help people through their journeys.

Brooke’s Celebration of Life will take place at George Werst Funeral Home at 71-41 Cooper Ave. in Glendale. Visiting hours are scheduled for 2 to 5 p.m. and 7 to 9 p.m. on Thursday, Jan. 31. Her cremation service will be on Feb. 1 at 10:45 a.m.

For more information and updates, visit the Team Brooki Facebook page.

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