Brooke Petkevicius. Died 26th March, 2007 - Age 19
Brooke was 19 when she died while at the University of California, Berkeley where she studied social work and was involved in many extracurricular activities including co-ed volleyball and ballroom dancing. She played on an intramural volleyball team, went to kickboxing classes. She also was a social welfare major. She died 14 days after her first dose of Gardasil from a pulmonary embolism or blood clot on March 26th, 2007. There is no family history of this.
Brooke’s story: “Brooke did not smoke,” said her school friend, Megan Sedowski. “She was possibly one of the healthiest people I’ve ever met. She never did drugs and rarely drank alcohol. She worked out daily, and took a lot of classes at the gym. She never complained about anything, really, certainly not her health. She was an amazing, upbeat, caring, healthy young woman and her death was a complete shock.” Brooke had dressed to go running with a friend because they were training for a half-marathon. She walked to the elevator, collapsed against the wall and had a seizure. Brooke was rushed to the hospital and passed away.
Brooke never had any problems with blood clots, nor did her family have any history of clotting problems. Subsequent tests of her younger sister and her mother showed nothing genetic. Brooke had no allergies, no tobacco use, and no past substance abuse problems. Drug tests came back negative. Cynthia Janak, who wrote this piece on Brooke, spoke to all her family. They told her what a wonderful, kind-hearted young woman she was. She had dreams and aspirations for her future and how her laughter was contagious and how her smile lit up a room. This was a girl who had it hard growing up, as many of us, but became a stronger person for it. The phrase Cynthia likes to use is “she took sour grapes and made fine wine.”
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