Wednesday, January 02, 2008

Just got back from vacation. Lots to show and tell. Will post that soon. Saw this story when I got back to my computer.

Memory of child they lost keeps Raynham family going

December 23, 2007

By Sharon Holliday, enterprise correspondent

RAYNHAM — Todd and Kristin Levine, parents of an 11-year-old daughter and two adopted sons from Russia, are celebrating both Hanukkah and Christmas this December with family members and the memory of the 6-year-old daughter they lost three years ago.

Todd Levine attends Ahavath Torah Congregation in Stoughton, while both he and his wife attend St. Ann's Catholic Church in Raynham. He said that he and his wife still consider themselves parents of four children.

“We always tell everybody that we have four kids,” Levine said.

The Levines lost their 6-year-old daughter, Nicole, three years ago after a 10-month battle with Fanconi anemia, a rare genetic disorder.

Both Todd and his wife were found to carry one of 12 genes known to be the cause of the disease. When this occurs in both parents, there is a 1 in 4 chance that any child born to them will inherit the disorder.

Levine said that Nicole, who died in October 2004 after two unsuccessful bone-marrow transplants at Sloan-Kettering Hospital in New York, continues to influence their family.

The Levine family includes, in addition to their daughter, Marissa, a 7-year-old son, Travis, who they brought home from an orphanage in Russia at 22 months of age and their 6-year-old son, Nicolas, who they brought home from another orphanage in Russia shortly after Nicole's death, when he was 3 years old.

“You don't want your child to be burdened with this,” Todd Levine said. “But Nicole is clearly here with us — her spirit, her spunk and her toughness.”

“She continues to be the glue of our family. This was a child that went through every horror that a child can go through, but she took everything in stride right to the end. She touched a lot of people. And she made people stand up and take notice of themselves,” he said.

Kristin Levine said their combined faiths and the continual support of family members and friends have given them the strength they needed “to get through it.”

“Our kids know both the Catholic and the Jewish faith,” Levine said. “We just celebrated Hannukah and we'll be celebrating Christmas with my family from Braintree.”

Both Todd and Kristin Levine are involved in various volunteer organizations, including adoption counseling and school and youth sports organizations in Raynham.

They also sponsor an annual Coley's Cause Memorial Golf Tournament each June at Poquoy Brook Country Club in Lakeville with proceeds benefiting the Fanconi Anemia Research Fund.

Todd Levine said that with healing “you don't close anyone out. You rally around each other and you mourn for your loss. You remember all the good times, and that you should be thankful for them. You need to move forward and never forget.”

Anyone wishing to read the journal and view the numerous pictures, relating to Nicole's 10-month fight against Fanconi anemia, can visit the site:

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