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Brooke (played as a teenager by Lacey Chabert) was paralyzed by a car accident, and The Brooke Ellison Story is Ed (John Slattery) and Jean's (Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio) story, and how they accept such a major change in their lives as career-oriented parents to three smart kids. Before they have time to process the change, they're battling threats to their sanity tossed at them by pessimistic doctors, a screwed-up health system (the Ellisons discover they can only receive financial assistance if they leave Brooke in a hospital, which they refuse to do), an uncooperative school system, and even their healthy kids, who suffer neglect as the demands of Brooke's condition chew up everyone's time.