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Student’s efforts to help find cure is personal

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He’s only 17 years old, but Brooks Byers of Flower Mound has already shown the world that one person can make a difference.

The fight Brooks chose to take on is the fight against cancer, although he himself is not a victim of the disease. His efforts to raise money for breast cancer came because of his love for his grandmother, mother and sister, and those efforts have resulted in Brooks being featured in a recently released book by Nancy G. Brinker, the founder and CEO of Susan G. Komen for the Cure, an organization named after her only sister, Susan, who died from breast cancer in 1980 at age 36.       

The book, Promise Me, How a Sister’s Love Launched The Global Movement To End Breast Cancer, profiles people from around the country affected in some way by cancer.  Brooks is featured because of his efforts to raise money for the Susan G. Komen Foundation.

The story starts when Brooks was two years old and his great-grandmother died of breast cancer. Five years later, his grandmother died of the same disease. And Brooks was 15 when his mother was diagnosed. He has one sibling, a little sister named Annemarie, who was then eight years old. Brooks decided something had to be done, and he wasn’t going to wait around for someone else to do it.

So far, Brooks has raised over $2,000 to help find a cure, and he’s done it by wrapping Christmas presents, giving tennis clinics, and even dog-sitting. His mother, Christy Baily-Byers, a cancer survivor, is very proud of her son. “He’s just my hero,” she said. “He was born as a mature adult, it seems like. I’m so amazed at what he’s done.”

From Brooks’ perspective, doing nothing just wasn’t an option. “I just felt like I wanted to do something, like it was the right thing to do,” he said. “Any money I can make is more valuable to me if it can go toward finding a cure for breast cancer.”

Now a senior at Flower Mound High School, Brooks is making plans for the future and applying to different colleges where he is considering a business major. When he isn’t involved in projects to raise money for cancer research, he can often be found in Farmers Branch at the Heart House, where he is a regular volunteer. Heart House is a free after-school educational program that provides a safe haven and academic support to at-risk children while encouraging them to become good citizens. Brooks should make a great role model in that capacity, as being a good citizen is something he has already mastered.

If you’d like to read more about Brooks, The Promise, or donate to his fundraising efforts, visit http://promisemebook.blogspot.com/search/label/Brooks%20Byers.

Visit the Susan G. Komen website at www.komen.org.

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