First let me start by saying that I am honored to be able to share Brielle's story with the world (or at least with P.S. I Adore You Followers!). I hope that I can do it justice! The Beus family is a family of six, who will steal your heart! They are beautiful people - selfless, loving, faithful, devoted, and inspiring. I am truly honored to know them.
Brielle is the second of four girls. She has one older and two younger sisters who all adore her. Brielle was just 10 years old when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML) in September 2010. Just two months after she was diagnosed (in November 2010), Brielle's dad, Shawn, was also diagnosed with cancer. Shawn has Myeloma, which is also a blood cancer, but of the plasma cells. This family was in for the fight of their lives, but their attitudes remained positive. Brielle's mom (Kim) said this in a facebook update shortly after learning of her husbands cancer: "There are so many things we would like to do as a family to make memories and just be together. We are going to FIGHT with all we have in us that they both beat this. We LOVE you all!"
Brielle and her mom, KIm
Brielle and her Dad, Shawn
Brielle responded well to treatment and was in remission after her first round of chemotherapy. Four rounds of chemotherapy later, in January 2011, she received a bone marrow transplant. Her 5 year old sister was a perfect match and she was honored to be Brielle's donor.
Brielle and her sister (Brooklee) recovering together after the bone marrow transplant.
After being in the hospital for over a month, Brielle was doing well and able to go home. They had to return weekly to check her blood and make sure she was doing well, but she was thriving! Home with her whole family together was just what she needed! This is an update from Kim on February 9, 2011: "Brielle is doing absolutely amazing at home. No nausea/vomiting, she has lots of energy and she has been eating since she has been home. We just have to go to Primary Children's Medical Center (PCMC) once a week and the doctors are so very pleased with how well she is doing and how good her labs look (her sister gave her powerful bone marrow). Brielle amazes me everyday with how well she is doing and her positive attitude."
In April, 2011, Brielle and her family celebrated 100 days post bone marrow transplant. That is a huge milestone and it was the beginning of Brielle getting back to normal. Brielle was feeling really well and the family celebrated this accomplishment! The year continued to go well. Months passed and the time was filled with great reminders of everything they had been through. In June, Brielle was honored at the SLC CureSearch Walk; in July, a HUGE fundraiser was held to sponsor Brielle so she could have a wish granted from the Utah Make a Wish Foundation; and in September, the Beus family put on a 5k run/walk called the Daddy/Daughter Cancer Walk. This was to honor Brielle's 1 year diagnosis date! What a year it had been!! October and November 2011 were filled with more 'normalcy' as Shawn was running for City Council. Sadly, the family was told that Brielle's cancer had returned a second time just hours before Shawn won the election. The Doctor's told them that they would have to act fast as Brielle was very sick, she would need another bone marrow transplant. Here is Kim's post from November 9, 2011: "Thanks for voting for Shawn, he made it. We would be more excited had we not heard a few hours before that the results were in that a lump on Brielle's arm came back showing her cancer is back. We are headed to Primary's this morning for a bone marrow aspirate to make sure that it has not spread to the bone marrow. The plan is another bone marrow transplant, we should find out more today. I was not able to sleep last night and I have a horrible pit in my stomach. Please keep her in your prayers." Fortunately, the cancer had not spread to Brielle's bone marrow. The family also felt fortunate because Shawn had not been experiencing many symptoms from his cancer. He was seen by some specialists at the Mayo Clinic and they told him that he was the healthiest Myeloma patient they had ever seen! It was not necessary for him to start any harsh treatments at that time, so he and Kim could focus on Brielle's new fight.
In early December 2011, Brielle underwent her second bone marrow transplant. This time she received stem cells from umbilical cord blood. The transplant went well, but there was a lot of sadness over the next few weeks. Because Brielle was in the hospital for an extended time, the family had to cancel their long-awaited Make a Wish Trip to Walt Disney World. They also had to spend Christmas in the hospital. But, there were many happy times during these weeks as well - things like David Archuleta coming to the hospital to visit Brielle!!
David Archuleta visits Brielle in the hospital.
Brielle continued to do well and was able to go home shortly after Christmas. Just like before, the milestones were met and there were lots of great things happening for the Beus Family as their lives were beginning to return to normal again. Thanks to The Make-A-Wish Foundation of Utah, Brielle and her family were finally able to spend a wonderful vacation in Disney World just before Christmas 2012.
The Beus family on their Make-A-Wish trip.
Unfortunately, their joy was short-lived. On March 21, 2013 Brielle and her family found out that her cancer has returned. Brielle has always been such a fighter and she did very well throughout all of her treatments, but her body just cannot handle another bone marrow transplant. They were heartbroken to learn that there isn't anything more the Doctors can do to save sweet Brielle. Brielle has kept a very positive attitude through everything she has endured. You would be hard-pressed to find a picture of Brielle without a GIANT smile on her face. She is incredibly brave and she is a source of happiness and an inspiration to everyone around her. Brielle is so strong and so brave. Just this week she went to school and shared with her 6th grade class that she won't be here on Earth for much longer, we understand she was comforting all of her classmates and telling them it would be ok. She has an absolutely amazing spirit and attitude. You can't help but smile and be happy when you are around her. At this time Brielle and her family have chosen to live each day to the fullest and enjoy every moment they have together. This family is so devoted to one another. You can feel the love radiating from each of them as they are there to strengthen each other. They are true examples of unconditional love. We thank them for allowing us to share their story.
(Brielle's story written by a fellow cancer mom and friend, Mystee Sudbury)