Thursday, February 26, 2004

February 26, 2004

Rare disease claims Fowler 10-year-old

By Tracy Burton
Lansing State Journal

FOWLER - Family and friends will gather today to lay to rest a 10-year-old boy who touched the lives of many.

Ben Platte, known for his kind gestures and loving nature, died Sunday of Fanconi anemia, a rare bone marrow disease that prevents production of all types of blood cells.

He leaves behind his parents, Adam and Laurie Platte, and brother Mathew, 13, and sister Macy, 4.

"He always had a smile on his face even when he was sick," Laurie Platte said Wednesday.

"And he never complained."

About 500 children in the United States have Fanconi anemia, which can lead to leukemia and other cancers, according to the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund Inc.

Ben was diagnosed with the disease in April and left in early January for Cincinnati Children's Hospital for a bone marrow transplant, the only known cure for the disease.

But Ben's body rejected the transplant.

Laurie Platte said her son kept in touch with the close-knit group of friends from Waldron Elementary in Fowler, which he attended from first through third grade.

Some planned to sing at his funeral today.

"He cared about people's feelings," Laurie Platte said.

"If somebody was hurting or if someone was getting picked on, he was the person to defend them. ... He loved everybody."

Ben attended Most Holy Trinity School in Fowler. Students helped put together a quilt for him that included pictures of them, which were transferred onto each fabric square, and Ben's picture in the middle.

"We're just really going to miss him," Principal Martha Maier said.

"Even though he wasn't in school our children prayed for him every day ... and they'll still keep him in their hearts."

Contact Tracy Burton at 377-1206 or

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