Leukemia patient passes out 'Dang it Dolls' on Easter to patients at Cleveland Clinic

Brooke Hedrick diagnosed in 2010, now in remission

CLEVELAND - As a senior at Springfield High School in Summit County in March 2010, Brooke Hedrick had a cold that just wouldn't go away.

After going to the doctor, Brooke was diagnosed with Acute Promyelocytic Leukemia (APL), a rare form of leukemia.

"I was in complete shock," said Hedrick. "Just as anyone else would, you always think, 'It will never be me. I'll never get cancer.'"

Brooke underwent five weeks of chemotherapy at Cleveland Clinic, spending Easter 2010 in the hospital.

"I was kind of bummed when Easter came around. I wouldn't be able to be home with my family and have dinner and go on Easter egg hunts," said Brooke.

Hedrick decided that when she got out of the hospital, she would do something for future patients who could not be home for Easter.

Brooke and her family passed out "Battle Bags" with treats inside and "Dang It Dolls" to leukemia patients Sunday at Cleveland Clinic. This was the third year the Hedrick's showed up on Easter to boost the spirits of patients who could not be home with their families.

The dolls could be squeezed like stress balls when patients were feeling frustrated and overwhelmed over their cancer diagnosis. Each doll also had an inspirational poem attached.

Henry Hout of Fairview Park has been hospitalized at Cleveland Clinic for 87 days. The "Battle Bag" and "Dang It Doll" he received from Brooke on Sunday was just what the doctor ordered.

"This is awesome," said Hout. "You really need stuff like this to keep you going through these days."

Hedrick's leukemia is currently in remission.

"We want to encourage people, just like I was encouraged," shared Brooke. "This time of year is all about spring and Easter. Just because you're in the hospital doesn't mean you can't celebrate life."

Hedrick is studying psychology at Walsh University. She wants to be a counselor for cancer patients.

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