I have often talked about my philanthropic philosophy and that giving back to the community is a core value for my business and The Dan Cooper Team. We feel strongly that to “give where you live” is not just a slogan, but a call to action.
Since many of the organizations we support are focused on the youth in our community, there are always stories that touch me personally. I attended one such fundraiser recently. It is a story that is both tragic and inspiring.
Brooklyn Mills is a 17-year-old girl who was a happy and extremely active student at Oakville Trafalgar High School in 2009. She was one of the school’s cheerleaders, performing back handsprings and flips. One day that fall, she woke up to severe back pain. Following that morning she saw countless doctors and specialists, was in and out of hospital and was finally diagnosed with a rare genetic connective tissue disorder called Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). Only 1 in 5,000 Canadians are afflicted by the disorder, which makes it difficult to find health-care professionals who specialize and can treat the condition. The person suffers chronic pain, with acute dislocations or advanced osteoarthritis, which can be physically and psychologically disabling.
It was heart wrenching to see this young, vibrant girl’s health rapidly deteriorate to the point that she was confined to a wheelchair and forced to spend most of the day in bed. She was refused admission to all pain management programs due to the severity of her disorder and the fact that she was not an adult.
Thankfully, the family found help at the Mayo Clinic in Minnesota, where Brooklyn spent more than five weeks in an intensive program and in January began walking for the first time in seven months. She plans to return to school this year.
I met Brooklyn at a fundraiser at Philthy McNasty’s on Speers Road on February 27th. Mike Holmes was the special guest and I was glad to provide support and a donation toward the cost of Brooklyn’s treatments.
While it was heartwarming and inspirational to see this charming young woman bravely and successfully battle this rare and debilitating disorder, the family has been saddled with a large medical bill. Brooklyn’s medical expenses not covered by OHIP exceeded $50,000. I was proud to be part of this very worthwhile fundraiser to help a wonderful young woman in our community.
We wish you all the best Brooklyn and look forward to you returning to school, completing your education and fulfilling your dreams.