Missouri teen who beat rare cancer 3 times passes away from COVID-19 complications


KANSAS CITY, Mo. (WDAF) — A Missouri high school junior who beat cancer three times has passed away from COVID-19 complications.

Aspen Deke’s family said the 17-year-old passed away Saturday evening in the arms of her mom and dad. They thanked everyone for prayers, love and support.

At the age of 4, Aspen was diagnosed with the Philadelphia chromosome-positive form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. At the time she was given a dire prognosis.

In November, she was diagnosed with COVID-19 in a way doctors can find only a couple of teens are anywhere in the world.

Aspen went through four years of chemo and a bone marrow transplant, but her parents said COVID-19 was much worse than 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,” Eric Deke told NewsNation affiliate WDAF last week.

She was admitted to Children’s Mercy Hospital almost two weeks before her favorite holiday, Christmas, and had been in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit since New Year’s Eve. Most of that time was spent intubated on a ventilator.

Both her friends and parents said Aspen loved to bake cakes and cupcakes for birthdays and holidays and planned months in advance buying gifts for her parents, brothers, and friends at Fort Osage High School and others she met during cancer treatments at Children’s Mercy.

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