December 18, 2023
News Media Contact:
Kevin Jimenez, College Public Relations Manager
(323) 265-8807 | @email
MONTEREY PARK, CA – Former East Los Angeles College (ELAC) Pathway to Law Program student Brooke Abbott has been named a SparQ Hero by the LumenSparQ Organization during the December 16th awards ceremony on the ELAC campus. LumenSparQ’s mission is to spotlight and support local Los Angeles heroes in education. A SparQ is a student that goes above and beyond the regular school day to take on a passion project that impacts others in need.
Brooke’s story is a testament to the resilience of the human spirit. Born and raised in Los Angeles, she has roots in a diverse Creole, Cajun and Afro-Latinx family. She learned how to advocate for herself and others from the strong entrepreneurial women in her family.
In 2001 during Brooke’s first year at college she fell seriously ill and for seven agonizing years, she battled various symptoms that doctors either ignored or did not properly diagnose. She finally was diagnosed with ulcerative colitis, a form of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
Her symptoms and IBD continued to worsen until she weighed just 99 pounds and had to undergo a life-saving emergency surgery in 2012 with a 30% chance of survival. The odds were stacked against her, given her frail condition at the time of the surgery. The procedure itself was a three-step process, each with its own set of challenges and risks. The first step involved the removal of her colon and the insertion of an ostomy. Four months later, she underwent a second surgery to insert an internal pouch, known as a J-pouch. The final step, another 4 months later, was the removal of the ostomy. Despite the overwhelming nature of the surgeries and a long recovery period, Brooke’s resilience shone through. Just six weeks after her final surgery, she managed to throw a third birthday party for her son in the park, before finally allowing herself some much-needed rest.
During this time Brooke’s mom implored her to change her life and Brooke started a blog titled The Crazy Creole Mommy Chronicles which seeks to raised IBD awareness. Her advocacy didn’t stop at blogging; she took her message to Capitol Hill, taught online classes on public policy, sat on advisory boards for pharmaceutical companies promoting health equity, and became a babywearing educator to encourage mothers and fathers with chronic conditions and disabilities to babywear. Most importantly, she founded her nonprofit, IBDMoms.org.
Brooke’s work aims to bridge the glaring gap in healthcare equity and her nonprofit serves as a communal space where moms of all backgrounds can share resources and experiences.
“I love people, and it just doesn’t seem right that there are people out there that just feel like they don’t have rights or don’t have a way forward. It doesn’t seem fair,” Abbott passionately states.
Brooke recently transferred from ELAC to UC Santa Barbara. Brooke originally started at a different community college but after learning about the ELAC Pathway to Law School Program changed her home-campus to ELAC, graduated, and walked at the ELAC Commencement ceremony in 2022. She is pursuing degrees in the history of public policy and political science and aspires to continue in the area of health equity. She describes ELAC as a night-and-day difference in support compared to her previous college experience.
“I am immensely proud to witness the remarkable journey of our former Pathway to Law Program student, Brooke Abbott. Her recognition as a SparQ Hero by the LumenSparQ Organization is a testament to her unwavering dedication and resilience in the face of tremendous challenges. Brooke's story embodies the spirit of overcoming adversity and making a meaningful impact on the lives of others. At ELAC, we strive to create an environment that nurtures the potential of every student, and Brooke's success is a shining example of the positive impact education can have,” said ELAC President Alberto J. Román.
Her story is a vivid reminder that one person can make a significant impact even in the face of insurmountable odds.
LumenSparQ believes in the power of community and the transformative potential of individuals to create positive change. Their mission is to spotlight and support local heroes in education who are making a significant impact in their communities. Their giving structure is designed to provide tailored support to local heroes in education, who they refer to as Lumenaries, SparQs, and Embers. To learn more visit www.lumensparq.org.
About East Los Angeles College
ELAC is the largest of nine two-year community colleges within the Los Angeles Community College District (LACCD), www.laccd.edu. More information about ELAC is available online at http://www.elac.edu/. Follow ELAC on social media, Instagram @ELACHuskies, X @EastLACollege, and Facebook @Eastlacollege.