Brookes – Meredith Lynne Brookes, 36, on September 22, 2017, in Bradford, N.H., peacefully, after a brief illness. Meredith was born on December 19, 1980, in Marlton, N.J., to Constance and Robert Brookes. At age three, she was diagnosed with Mayer–Rokitansky–Küster–Hauser (MRKH) Syndrome, which at the time was little understood by the medical profession, but is now known to affect approximately one in 4,500 women. Growing up in Haddonfield, N.J., where she attended high school, she bravely met the many challenges that MRKH put in her way, including the two years of her life that she spent in hospitals and her undergoing more than a dozen surgeries. Her swim club team called her the “Iron Cupcake” in honor of her tenacious spirit despite her small size. She enjoyed playing soccer and hiking and canoeing on family vacations in the Adirondack Mountains; was an accomplished diver and diving coach; played the cello; and was a voracious, inquisitive reader and history buff who loved delving into obscure history threads and sharing unusual insights with family and friends. She attended Bard College at Simon’s Rock but had to leave because of illness.
She was a member of Haddonfield Meeting. After a kidney transplant in 2000, she was a kind and gentle caregiver for children, including as a teacher’s assistant at Haddonfield Friends School, as a Quaker buddy who visited the school and talked with students about Quaker values, and as a childcare provider during meeting for worship and First-day school. She and her beloved husband, Tim England, married under the care of the meeting in 2011. In recent years she became a passionate advocate for women and girls with MRKH, going public about her own life to help others and starting a foundation to organize local support groups and medical conferences. Her generous sharing of her life story and the wisdom she had gained gave inspiration and strength to everyone who heard her and made the MRKH community love her. A short time before her death, Meredith and Tim moved from New Jersey to New Hampshire, where her parents live. At a memorial meeting for worship in October, more than 300 friends, family, and MRKH sisters celebrated her life. To learn more about MRKH, readers are invited to visit www.beautifulyouMRKH.org.