Ripples Swimming Club – remembering Brooke Fretwell

Beloved daughter and passionate Ripples Swimming Club member Brooke Fretwell sadly died of an incurable brain cancer known as DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma)

Photo: Brooke Fretwell, beloved daughter to Karl and Olivia, sadly passed in 2015.

In early 2015, beloved daughter and passionate Ripples Swimming Club member Brooke Fretwell sadly died of an incurable brain cancer known as DIPG (diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma). Eight years later, her parents Karl and Olivia, and the swimming club that was such a big part of Brooke’s life, continue to remember her and donate funds for research in her memory − helping change the outcomes of brain cancer diagnoses for other kids.

For many of the junior swimmers now at Ripples Swimming club in NSW, Brooke Fretwell was sadly never a fellow member they knew. Whilst many never knew the positive, hardworking and talented swimmer, they know her for her legacy which lives on in the club through fundraising work and a prestigious award in her honour.

Club Secretary, Christina says: 

“Sadly, I never knew Brooke personally – my family joined the club after she passed away. But the first year my son swam, he won The Brooke Fretwell Memorial Point Score Trophy which is an award for consistency over the entire season.

“Olivia and Karl, Brooke’s parents, present the award each year and it’s an incredible way to learn more about who Brooke was and their ongoing mission to fund kids’ cancer research.”

“It had such an impact on my son − who never knew her − that he decided to do his public speaking competition about Brooke’s story and brain cancer. There’s such a knock-on effect – it’s a tragic story, but it brings the community together in such a powerful way.”

On top of Brooke’s memorial award, the club makes an annual donation to The Kids’ Cancer Project in Brooke’s memory, helping to fund vital research into better treatments for other kids like her. Speaking of the importance of their donations in memory of Brooke, Christina says:

“I learnt about Brooke’s story and it’s something I feel so passionately about, and her legacy is something we want to keep passing down to future members of the club. It’s very important. That annual donation is indefinite for us. We don’t see an end to funding that cause.”

“We’d love to do more, and next year we’re going to look into some swimming events that the club can get behind and hopefully raise even more money in her memory.”

Alongside the swimming club’s annual donations, parents Karl and Olivia have also generously raised tens of thousands of dollars to support kids’ cancer research projects. The money raised could fund researchers like Professor Matt Dun, whose pioneering work is paving the way for the first effective treatments for other kids with DIPG.

Professor Matt Dun undertaking childrens cancer research into DIPG

Why Prof. Dun's research into the deadliest form of childhood cancer is more than just professional

Read about Prof. Matt Dun's pioneering DIPG treatments

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A huge thank you to everyone at Ripples Swimming Club and to both Olivia and Karl Fretwell for their generous and ongoing support.

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