Brooke Petkevicius – Florida
19 years old
Written by: Cynthia Janak
Brooke was enrolled at the University of California, Berkley where she studied social work, majoring in Social Welfare. She was involved in many extra-curricular activities, including co-ed volleyball and ballroom dancing. She played on an intramural volleyball team and went to kickboxing classes.
Brooke died 14 days after her first injection of Gardasil from a pulmonary embolism, or blood clot, on 26 March 2007. There was no family history of this problem.
Brooke’s Story: “Brook 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. 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, author, spoke to all of her family. They told her what a wonderful, kind-hearted young woman she was. She had dreams and aspirations for her future. They spoke about 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. As Cynthia likes to say, “She took sour grapes and made fine wine.”