Wednesday, November 01, 2006

This is a nice video about what a dad is doing to honor his kids who died of Fanconi.

Family Raises Awareness For Fanconi Anemia

Kathy Walsh

(CBS4) DENVER A father and daughter team will travel east this weekend to tackle the New York City Marathon in honor of two children who lost their lives to Fanconi anemia.

Ken Atkinson and daughter, Whitney don't really fancy themselves marathoners but have been training for their first 26-mile run on Nov. 5.

They'll hit the streets for Whitney's siblings, Kendall and Taylor, who tried to go the distance against a deadly disease.

1n 1990, Kendall was 7-years-old and Taylor was 3-years-old when they were diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, a blood disease with no cure.

Their only hope was a bone marrow transplant so thousands of Coloradans turned out to have their blood tested.

A dozen years went by with no compatible donor.

"I think we made the decision to live our lives with hope and live our lives with promise," said Jeanne Atkinson, the children's mother.

In 2004, Kendall found a match but died from transplant complications. In 2005, Taylor was also transplanted and spent 9 months in a hospital in New York City.

"All that we could do was just to pray for him," Ken said. "He said 'just pray and just pray for me.'"

As his son lay dying, Ken vowed to come back and run the marathon to raise money to find a cure for Fanconi anemia and Whitney later decided to sign up in honor of her siblings.

"Maybe this is a physical expression of what I wish I could do for them," Whitney said.

The pair's personal best is 20 miles but Ken believes memories of two incredible children will see them through the entire 26 miles.

"I think about Taylor and Kendall and what they endured and when it gets hard I just say 'hey you know this is nothing, this is really nothing,'" Ken said. "I think about what they did."

The Atkinsons have raised $50,000 to find a cure for Fanconi anemia and they're still taking donations.

November is National Bone Marrow Awareness Month. Registration to the National Marrow Donor Registry is free.

Additional Resources

To fund research to find a cure for Fanconi Anemia, learn more about the Taylor and Kendall Atkinson Foundation or e-mail For information on the Bone Marrow Registry, visit

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