Brooke’s career path coincides with her drive to help others with ailments. For 15 years, she worked as a medical sales
representative in the hospital environment. Working with doctors in the operating room allowed her to further hone in on her need to help families with sick patients.
Originally from Danville, VA, Brooke went to college at Virginia Tech. She went on to work in San Diego and then settled in Charlotte. Brooke’s connections through the years put her in touch with an old friend from Virginia Tech, Franklin Yancey. They chatted about her need for a flexible career with less road time and found Franklin’s venture, Yancey Realty, to be the perfect fit.
Brooke made her career transition from medical sales to real estate this year and is loving every minute of it! Working with Cali in the Ronald McDonald House allows Brooke to maintain her commitment to helping others and serving families battling illness. As a realtor with Yancey Realty, Brooke can stay local and have a thriving career while serving the community.
More than just a beloved pet, Brooke’s dog, Cali, is a trained therapy dog. Cali, a beautiful 7-year-old Goldendoodle, has the innate ability to bring calm to those around her. Sensing her call to serve, Brooke enrolled Cali in training at Star Dog, and she is now a proud Canine Good Citizen and member of Therapy Dogs International. While in training, Brooke noticed Cali interacted with patients in a particularly unique way. During the initial training period, she had taken her to Aldersgate Retirement Community to visit, and she had a particular sense of how to blend in with the patients. It warmed Brooke’s heart to see how gently Cali acted with a resident with Parkinson’s disease.
Knowing Cali worked so well with patients with illnesses, Brooke felt a great place to volunteer would be the Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte. With Cali’s training completed, Brooke reached out to become a volunteer. The process to volunteer includes registering online, as well as a personal interview for both the owner and therapy dog. Brooke and Cali passed the initiation stage with flying colors! Once approved as a volunteer, time slots are chosen to work with the families at the facility.
Brooke and Cali started working with the Ronald McDonald House in 2015. Typically, Cali works the “dinner shift” on Tuesdays from 5-8 p.m. “It is the best time to meet the families and interact in the living room area,” says Brooke. “Since I know what it is like to have been the sibling of a sick child, I see how beneficial this downtime can be for the families with Cali.” The regular visitors anticipate the visits with Cali as well. “There was a 14 -year-old girl who was there each month for a cancer trial who Cali was drawn to and saw regularly,” says Brooke, fondly. What an incredible joy to be able to bring a smile to a child going through such a struggle. Patients and families welcome the moments of happiness. A great memory was when a sick patient got out of bed for the first time that day to come downstairs and hug Cali!
Brooke’s family experience with her brother’s cerebral palsy and trips to Duke Medical Center influence her strongly. Serving at the Ronald McDonald house with Cali brings it all full circle for Brooke, as she can make an impact with the children and their families.
Brooke has a fantastic YouTube video that highlights Cali’s work with the Ronald McDonald House. It’s hard to place all the incredible moments in words regarding Cali’s impact on families and children. Seeing it firsthand on the video brings it to life. (You can watch for yourself at this link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=L1CEA_ UWJF0&feature=youtu.be.)
Ronald McDonald House of Charlotte provides a safe, affordable, and caring “home away from home” for the families of children receiving treatment in Charlotte-area medical facilities. Families are stronger when they are together, and this is never more important than when a child is sick or injured. By offering families a haven less than one mile from our partner hospitals, the Ronald McDonald House increases their ability to spend more time with their child, interact with their clinical care team, and participate in critical medical decisions. And Brooke and Cali are honored to be a part of the mission.
For more information, please contact Brooke
Harrelson at (704) 608-6317. To learn more
about the Ronald McDonald House, visit https://