The Orange County Register : Marie Ekberg Padilla
"There were times last summer we weren't sure we were going to have this," Brooke's mom Jenni said, while hugging her daughter. "This is awesome, exciting."
Agreeing, close friend and neighbor Sara Vuoso said, "Her birthday is extra special but just having her here every day is a miracle."
Vuoso was the matching blood donor for Brooke's heart transplant.
Brooke had a special friend come to celebrate her big day. It was 12-year-old Paige Collins of Ladera Ranch, who battles the same disease as Brooke. However, so far, Paige has been able to keep her condition in check with a myriad of daily medications.
"To see how good Brooke is doing provides a sense of comfort and support," said Paige's mom, Paula Collins. "Brooke serves as an example for what's possible, and she is just a little miracle."