PLEASANT HILL, Iowa –Looking around Ashley Brooks’ Pleasant Hill home, and you’ll see smile after smile. "Her smile is just perfect. It is,” she proudly said of her daughter Allie.
“She was just happy all the time, and she had this contagious smile,” she added.
“I mean she was still happy at the end, but yeah, I mean, it robbed her of everything,” said Ashley.
Allie Brooks was diagnosed with DIPG last year at the age of four. "We noticed a little bit of her balance was off walking a little bit,” she said.
DIPG, which stands for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, is a tumor located in the brain stem. “It`s zero percent survival rate, normal diagnosis time to death is nine to ten months. They don`t have very long at all. There`s trials out there, but nothing is FDA approved," said Ashley.
Allie fought hard. She only had five months. She died in August of 2018. “She was so strong and so brave, but she didn`t have a chance. That`s the thing, we couldn`t even tell her, like hey, this is worth it. You have a shot,” said her mom.
“Your entire world changes. Everything changes around you. What`s important changes.”
Ashley left her job in insurance so she could spend more time with her children. “It`s the memories that matter.” In January, she started her own business "Prepped,” making healthy meals and desserts. “I wanted to do something where I helped people," she said.
And, she's a part of a club she never imagined. "We have a huge and amazing group of oncology moms," said Ashley.
She's heading up efforts to organize a local CureFest walk to raise awareness about childhood cancer to take place in Iowa at the same time as the national event in Washington D.C.
“If our children fight or they lose their battle, if we don`t spread awareness or we don`t do anything, it`s like they didn`t exist. This is my way of keeping her memory alive. Making sure everything she went through, hopefully somebody else doesn`t have to,” said Ashley
CureFest takes place in Washington D.C. on September 20-23. It brings people from across the country together to take a united stand against childhood cancer.
The local walk to bring awareness is Friday, September 20th from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. It's at Copper Creek in Pleasant Hill. Activities include face painting, sidewalk chalk, bubbles, and appearances from the Iowa League of Heroes.