A teenager who beat a rare form of cancer three times has died in her parents’ arms from complications related to her COVID-19 diagnosis.
Aspen Deke, 17, from
After her diagnosis, Aspen had to undergo both a bone marrow transplant and CAR-T cell immunotherapy to help fight the disease, and she also endured four years of grueling chemotherapy.
The teenager overcame the disease time and time again – however in late November, her battle hit another obstacle when it was revealed that she had contracted COVID-19, and she had to be rushed to hospital.
17-year-old Aspen Deke, who beat a rare form of cancer three times, died in her parents’ arms on Saturday after catching COVID-19
The teenager was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at the age of four and spent much of her life battling the disease, undergoing four years of chemotherapy
She was taken to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, two weeks before Christmas, where she was put on oxygen while doctors battled to combat her high-grade fever, and worked to bring her oxygen levels up.
It seemed as though Aspen was getting better, and she was allowed to return home for a few days – however not long after, her symptoms worsened, and the high school junior was readmitted to hospital.
She was diagnosed with pneumonia in both of her lungs, and on New Year’s Eve, Aspen was taken to the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit, where she was intubated and put on a ventilator.
Despite the best efforts of doctors, Aspen sadly died on Saturday after developing a condition called COVID-induced multisystem inflammatory syndrome in children (MIS-C), which has similar symptoms to Kawasaki disease and toxic shock.
Writing in an update on a fundraising page set up to pay for Aspen’s medical costs, organizer Aimee Loring wrote on Saturday night: ‘At 6:40pm Aspen Deke passed away in the arms of her mom and dad.’
Aspen (pictured) has since enduring both a bone marrow transplant and CAR-T cell immunotherapy to help fight the disease
On a fundraising page set up to help pay for the cost of her treatment, her family told how she tested positive for COVID-19 in late November and ended up being hospitalized
Aspen was rushed to Children’s Mercy Hospital in Kansas City, Missouri, two weeks before Christmas, and had been in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit since New Year’s Eve
WHAT IS ACUTE LYMPHOBLASTIC LEUKAEMIA?
Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) is a type of blood cancer that starts from young white blood cells in the bone marrow.
There are around 810 new cases in the UK every year. In the US, ALL affects approximately 1.7 adults per 100,000.
Anyone can develop ALL, however, it mainly affects younger people.
Many ALL symptoms are vague and flu-like, such as:
Risks for developing ALL include exposure to radiation, smoking, being overweight and having a weak immune system.
Research suggests being breastfed and exposed to childhood infections may reduce a person’s risk.
The main ALL treatment is chemotherapy. Patients may also have radiotherapy, steroids or bone marrow transplants.
Source: Cancer Research UK
‘Thank you all for all your prayers and love and support. Please understand that we are processing a lot and won’t be responding to texts or phone calls.
‘Please keep the boys in your prayers. Thank you.’
Despite going through four years of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant, Aspen’s parents said that her COVID-19 battle was even more severe that her fight against cancer.
‘At least with cancer, as bad as it sounds and it is scary, but there’s a lot that you know about it. They can say, “This is how bad it is, this is what we are going to do. This is what we expect.” But with this everything is unknown,’ Aspen’s father Eric told
Because of her cancer battle, Aspen’s immune system was not equipped enough to fight the virus.
In another message written on the fundraising site just days before Aspen’s tragic death her father Eric said: ‘I have to say I am so much more at peace being able to see our princess and spend good time with her.
‘Especially now as she’s been somewhat stable, for her. It’s so hard when she just looks like it’s a struggle so these days are amazing.
‘I can’t wait to see her eyes open again and hear that voice say, “I love you Daddy” and see how happy she will be to see momma and her brothers again.
‘It’s amazing to see her and spend this time with her. I love you sweet pea and thank you to everyone for all the prayers.
‘For our friends who have helped so much by setting up things to help you all know who you are and to all of our friends who have reached out to help in any way from food to gift cards to words of encouragement and prayers and to Aspen’s friends you all truly fill my heart with joy so thank you.’
You can donate