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Kyle McConkey's family to donate money raised after teen dies from leukemia

03/24/2015 03:00 EDT | Updated 05/24/2015 05:59 EDT
The family of Kyle McConkey, the 18 year old from Tsawwassen, B.C., who died last week after battling a rare form of leukemia, plans to donate funds raised in his name to help other families struggling with cancer.

People touched by McConkey's story — including church groups, soccer teams and anonymous strangers — donated $282,124 last December to pay for experimental cancer treatment in Seattle.

The cancer, and related infections, moved too quickly for that treatment to happen.

McConkey met with doctors in Seattle in March, but soon after, doctors discovered the cancer had spread to his spine, making him ineligible for the Seattle treatment, according to updates from the family.

"He had hope, desire and the fight [to] live, right up to the last few days of his life," wrote his family in an obituary for their teenage son.

He passed away March 19, surrounded by his family, friends, and his cherished cat Andrew, who slept on his chest every night for 12 years.

Infection meant 'Seattle was off'

McConkey was admitted to intensive care at B.C. Children's Hospital March 16, due to a fever caused by an infection that had spread to his blood.

"They knew as soon as he spiked a fever, that Seattle was off at that point. It was cancelled. So he was never going," said his aunt Lisa McConkey.

McConkey had been diagnosed with a rare form of leukemia on his sixteenth birthday. Other treatments, including two bone marrow transplants, hadn't worked.

With no treatment options left, McConkey's parents brought him to Canuck Place Children's Hospice Thursday, to spend his final hours with family.

"When he actually passed away, his dad, and his dad's longtime best friend, and Kyle's best friend were in there telling stories, funny stories, and just laughing," said Lisa McConkey.

"Even though we knew it was coming, it was very sudden."

'The world is full of beautiful people'

The family is still deciding where the funds raised will be allocated, but Lisa McConkey said they plan to set up an account in his name to help other families.

"The world is full of beautiful people, and Kyle knew this with all his heart," wrote the family in his obituary, which thanked his supporters and staff at the hospital and hospice.

McConkey's parents, Ross and Jo Anne, are asking people who wish to remember their son to consider donating to the Michael Cuccione Foundation for childhood cancer research, said his aunt.

"The Cucciones have done so much for Ross and Jo and been there above and beyond, and they'd been through it with the loss of their son," she said.

A celebration of life for Kyle McConkey will be held at the South Delta Baptist Church at 2 p.m. PT on Friday, March 27.

Read the obituary written by Kyle McConkey's family

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