Brodie strong: Marion family battles childhood cancer

Dec 20, 2022

MARION — Brodie Yeaw is a 12-year-old student at Sippican School in Marion. Like many children his age, he loves sports — hockey and lacrosse in particular — and playing the video game Fortnite with his friends. 

In July 2021, his parents, Katie and Ernest, noticed that he had swollen lymph nodes and brought him to the hospital.

“It wasn't really bothering him that much,” said Katie. “They did blood work — it was fine. But then he increasingly got worse. He was randomly vomiting, he couldn't play outside. We knew something wasn't right.”

A doctor at St. Luke’s Hospital in New Bedford recommended that Brodie go to Hasbro Children’s Hospital in Providence for a closer examination. 

On Aug. 10, 2021 Brodie was diagnosed with T-Cell Leukemia, an extremely rare form of cancer that affects white blood cells.  

After his diagnosis, Brodie stayed at the hospital for 29 days. Multiple rounds of chemotherapy, two blood transfusions, and a platelet transfusion prevented him from playing hockey, playing lacrosse, or doing any of the normal things a 12-year-old enjoys.

“The first year [was] pretty hard,” said Katie. Ernest agreed. “It flipped our world upside down in an instant.”

Brodie’s parents adjusted their schedules and enlisted the help of their in-laws, so that someone could always take Brodie to medical appointments while someone else cared for their six-year-old son, Garrett.

“[It wasn’t] perfect, of course. But with support we were able to make it work,” said Ernest. “We [tried] to keep life as normal as possible.”

According to Katie, Brodie’s condition has improved since 2021. “His hair is back and he has better energy.”

“He is doing really well with his numbers and stuff looks great,” said Ernest. “You know, at the end of the day it could have been so much worse — so much worse. We're fortunate that he's responding so well to his treatment.”

On Dec. 10, Brodie’s family held a blood drive at the Benjamin Cushing Community Center in Marion as a way to give back and to raise awareness for childhood cancer. 

“When you're told your child has cancer, you feel completely hopeless,” said Katie. “[When we were in Boston] we donated blood and it just makes you feel like you're doing something.”

Ernest added that many people don’t often pay attention to things that don’t affect them. “Until it actually happens to you, you don't realize what an impact it has on families,” he said.

“Once you're affected, you learn a lot really fast,” Ernest continued. “You know about everything from platelets to lumbar punctures. You know what the spleen does all the way through the body.”

In the year since Brodie’s diagnosis, his family has learned to accept and deal with the trials that come with caring for a loved one.

“All you can do is protect your children,” he said. “You do whatever you have to.”

This year, along with increased energy and a return to school, Brodie was able to lace up his skates and take to the hockey rink with Cape Cod Canal Youth Hockey. 

Two weeks after the season started Brodie told his dad he was “ready to play,” and has only missed one game since September due to a medical appointment.

On Dec. 11, Brodie and his team got the chance to play at the Amica Mutual Pavilion in Providence after a Providence Bruins game. 

Brodie’s team won 3-2.