Saturday, October 23, 2004

October 22, 2004

Raynham girl loses battle with diseases
By Enterprise staff
A little girl's struggle with a life-sapping condition is over.

Nicole Levine, 6, of Raynham, died at Children's Hospital in Boston Friday at 2:05 a.m. She'd been fighting a rare pairing of diseases, acute myelogenous leukemia and Fanconi anemia, since December 2003.

"Coley is finally at peace," parents Todd and Kristin Levine wrote Friday on a Web page dedicated to their daughter. "We checked her into Children's early last Friday morning and she waged a very hard battle. From the very moment we arrived last Friday, the medical staff felt that she might pass at any time. As always, Nicole continued to defy all practicality and press forward with her life, per her agenda, on her terms," they wrote.

"She made the most of her last week there. On Saturday and Sunday she played vigorously with her brother and sister, cousins and dearest friends. The energy she was able to muster to enjoy these moments was incredible, yet so typical for Nicole."

Over the last year, friends and family did everything possible to aid Nicole in her fight.

Blood drives were organized to help with the search for a bone marrow donor and, in the spring, she underwent her first marrow transplant at New York's Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. She had her second transplant in August.

Emotional support came in truckloads.

More than 70 people joined the "Coley Team" during the Light the Night walk in Boston, a fund-raiser organized by the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society.

Political Asylum, a '60's rock cover band with members drawn from the local political scene, raised more than $1,000. Nicole's grandfather, former Stoughton Selectman Richard Levine, dropped his bid for re-election to spend more time with her and her parents.

And friends from the Merrill Elementary School, where she'd been a student, and St. Ann Church in Raynham kept up a constant stream of support.

More than 100 expressions of grief had been left on the girl's web page — — by Friday afternoon.

"Thank you to everyone for keeping Nicole and our family in your prayers over this past year. We would not have been able to make it this far without your support," The Levines wrote.

Nicole will be waked Monday afternoon from 4-8 at Farley Funeral Home, 358 Park St., Stoughton.

Her funeral will be held Tuesday at 10:00 a.m. at St. Ann's Church, 660 North Main St., Raynham.

In lieu of flowers, the family is asking donations in Nicole's name be made to the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund Inc., 1801 Willamette Street, Suite 200, Eugene, OR 97401.

This is such an awful disease. No-one had died for a while which is a good thing.

Unfortunately I can understand how Coley's parents are feeling right now. I feel bad for them and Coley's brother and sister.

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