CINCINNATI (WKRC) - Lauren Hill's battle with cancer was the first introduction for many to the letters DIPG.
Since it's taken Lauren Hill's life, it has also claimed the lives of Kyler Bradley and Huxley Williams. Brooklyn Smith of Erlanger is 2016's ambassador for the Hyde Park Blast. She was diagnosed with DIPG in January, and Local 12 has followed the Smile for Brooklyn Campaign.
Neither Brooklyn nor her parents have spoken to the media, until Wednesday, May 18. They shared their story with Local 12 News.
Mr. Nick Smith had the, "Who are you going to spend the rest of your life with?" figured out when he entered Boone County High School. He met his wife freshman year and they started dating. They've been together ever since. Nick and Brittany were married by junior year in college, and talked about family down the road.
Brittany said, "We wanted to wait a little while. She was a surprise."
Brooklyn spoke her first words at six months, walked at 10 months, but the bundle of "don't get in my way" hit a wall in January.
Brittany said, "The weekend following her fifth birthday she fell in the shower, off the toilet twice and we knew something was wrong."
It was a tumor on the brain stem.
Nick told Local 12, "I asked him, 'What does this mean when we talk about longevity?' 10 years? No. Two. There aren't words."
Chemo, radiation and steroids can make you mad but Brooklyn responded and those symptoms that led them to a diagnosis of DIPG went away for a couple of months.
"Her left hand, she cannot really use it. Grip straighten, thumbs, left leg as she walks she kinda drags," said her mom.
Brooklyn knows the letters "DIPG" and the word "tumor." The word "cancer" isn't used in the house. The mother who lost her daughter to those four letters has reached out to help the Smiths. No parent tears were allowed in the house either; at least none that might be noticed by a little girl wondering why they aren't smiling.
Pulled out of preschool Brooklyn has a "monkey in the chair;" a program to help cancer patients stay connected to their classmates. Her monkey's name, what else, Sunshine.
Lauren's lessons are mandatory in the Smith house: live in the moment, say what they need to say, advocate for medical funding and change and at all cost know who you're going to spend the rest of your life with.
Since Local 12's visit doctors added an aggressive steroids regimen. Brooklyn has gained 12 pounds and been fitted for a leg brace to help her walk.
The Hyde Park Blast will happen June 25 and 26.