Brooke Peterson Gabster was born in 1988 and grew up near St. Louis, MO. She lived her life fully, joyfully, and deliberately – and never wasted a moment of her time. She was ambitious and inspired; full of grit and determination; public-spirited and deeply loving; adventurous and fun. Her family is forever grateful to all who helped her grow into the remarkable woman she became.
After a childhood filled with swimming, dancing, and studying hard, Brooke matriculated to Princeton University, where she graduated from the School of Public and International Affairs both Phi Beta Kappa and summa cum laude in 2011. Her studies and internships in Germany, Thailand, and South Africa fueled her passion for clinical medicine, global health care, health policy, and health equity.
After graduating, Brooke designed and implemented health programming for the federal government as a consultant for Deloitte in Washington, D.C., and it was in D.C. that she met the love of her life, Steve. They married in 2015. In 2014, Brooke matriculated at the University of Chicago Pritzker School of Medicine. There she gained valuable teaching experience and helped launch a program to improve patient-centered interprofessional clinical collaboration. A Pritzker Global Health Scholarship also enabled her to experience medicine at Korle Bu Teaching Hospital in Accra, Ghana, during her fourth year. She was recognized as a Bucksbaum Institute Student Scholar and inducted into the Alpha Omega Alpha Honor Medical Society.
Having decided to pursue a residency in internal medicine, Brooke was thrilled to match with the Global Health track at Stanford University. She moved with Steve to the Bay Area in June 2018. She aspired to improve cancer care in low-income countries, and she already had plans to work in Uganda in 2020 when her life as she knew it was interrupted: she was diagnosed with osteosarcoma in February 2019, and her cancer was discovered to be metastatic soon after. As Brooke put it, her diagnosis compelled her to take a deeper dive into oncology than she had intended.
Brooke published poignantly of her experience nine months later in JAMA, in an incredibly moving “A Piece of My Mind” perspective. She also researched and applied all the knowledge she acquired to advance the treatment of her own disease and osteosarcoma more generally. Over the two and a half years she strove to tame her disease, she inspired everyone around her. She remained a vibrant part of her residency community as a friend, mentor, and researcher (publishing in The Lancet in 2020), and with her unbelievable grit, she worked part-time as a clinician until a few months before she died.
Brooke’s life was filled with love and concern for others. She had a natural warmth and a way of lighting up any room with her beaming smile. She loved her friends, her family, her work, and the outdoors; she relished learning, dancing, cycling, swimming, hiking, and discovering the world. Her many achievements, hopes, and aspirations -- as well as her love, humor, and infectious smile -- brought her family and friends tremendous joy. She led them to remarkable places and remarkable people; she enriched their lives.
A world with less toxic, more effective treatments and a cure for osteosarcoma.
We are devoted to creating and instilling hope with and for our inclusive and collaborative osteosarcoma community. We do this through mutual trust, transparency and compassion.