Osage loves Brooke.
That message was made loud and clear to Osage Elementary School fifth-grade student Brooke Mulford on Feb. 10 when the school’s entire student body came together to arrange red and green plastic cups in the school’s fence to spell out the message “Osage Loves Brooke” to support Brooke in her fight against cancer.
Brooke, 11, was diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of pediatric cancer, at age 4 when she was living in Salisbury, Md. Brooke and her mother Amy moved to Voorhees in 2014 to be closer to Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, and it was then Brooke became part of the Osage family.
With Brooke undergoing chemotherapy and set to begin the second cycle of her treatment on Feb. 11, the Osage community decided to let Brooke know she had its support.
The Osage community started a GoFundMe online fundraising page for Brooke and her mother, which at the time of the Feb. 10 event had already raised nearly $10,000 and exceeded its original goal.
Money was also raised by students at the school by paying $1 per cup to make the sign, although the amount of money raised there also far exceeded expectations.
Brooke has been known throughout the communities she’s lived in for her charitable endeavors, such as her Brooke’s Toy Closet projects in which she’s held gift drives to bring in donations of toys for hospitalized children.
Osage Parent Faculty Association member Tricia Chadwick said with Brooke and her mother holding several fundraisers over the years for cancer research and to support those other than themselves, the Osage community wanted to do something specifically for Brooke and her mom.
“They always funneled everything they got to everybody else and to cancer research and neuroblastoma and her toy closet, so we wanted to do something just for them,” Chadwick said.
In addition to the money raised, Brooke and her mother were presented with a new bike for Brooke, a new grill for the family and a gift basket full of several other donations such as stuffed animals, toys, treats, warm clothes and more.
“This event I think was just more about us as a school and community coming together and just saying we loved her and just saying we loved them and that was it,” said Osage PFA member Chrissy Beswick. “We wanted as much good to come from that as possible, and it’s been amazing.”
On the day of the event, Mulford said she didn’t know what to expect and was told only that the school was planning something special for Brooke. Upon her and Brooke’s arrival, Mulford said she and Brooke were completely blown away by the message and donations.
She praised the Osage community for welcoming Brooke in the ways it has since Brooke first enrolled at the school. Mulford said she and Brooke didn’t know what to expect when first starting at Osage, as Brooke’s previous school was a small, private Christian school in Maryland.
With Osage being significantly bigger, the two were afraid Brooke would become lost in the shuffle and they would never have that closeness again with their school, but Mulford said Osage ended up being nothing but amazing.
“Honestly, since day one, the students, the teachers, the entire administration, I’m really speechless. Osage loves Brooke, they really do,” Mulford said.
To donate to Brooke’s GoFundMe page, visit www.gofundme.com/bvtyabb8.