MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — Brian Brooks is a senior at the St. Paul Conservatory for the Performing Arts. His focus originally was on musical theatre, but cancer at just 13 years old has changed his performance and his everyday life.
Brian had cancer in his neck and he’s has had to r-learn how to talk and eat. But his amazing and slightly dramatic attitude, never changed.
Even in a hospital room, it feels like Brian has a spotlight following him everywhere.
“I really, really love music,” Brian said.
In fact, it was during a musical production when Brian first noticed a lump on his neck.
“During the course of rehearsal, it just got bigger and bigger,” Brian said.
That lump turned out to be cancer. Brian learned he had NUT Mid-line carcinoma.
His mom said he is the 65th person in the U.S. in 15 years to have had such a cancer and is one of only five survivors.
“We had all my lymph nodes removed, my tonsils and my adenoids,” Brian said. “I had a really high dose of radiation and a lot of surgery.”
Brian’s now 17 and still dealing with the aftermath, which is why he’s back at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics.
“It’s a lot of chronic pain and lot of nerve pain,” Brian said.
Brian lost his teeth from radiation and has relearned how to talk and eat.
“It takes a lot of energy for me to talk,” Brian said.
But he always has the energy to tell you about all the people who cover his walls. There are dozens of pictures capturing the happy moments in Brian’s life.
“It’s always remembering the moments I’m happy,” Brian said. “Wanting those moments for life.”
It’s part of the reason he loves Nikki Minaj so much — especially her song, Moment for Life.
While some of Brian’s plans for the future have changed, others, like savoring the happy moments, never will.
“I don’t see myself ever being able to do a Broadway production,” Brian said. “One thing I would want people to know about me, is I’m going to be all right.”