Leader Blues

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

TOP STORY>> Hawkins taken to hospital

IN SHORT: Cabot youngster is admitted to Arkansas Children’s soon after his return from Jerusalem.

Leader staff writer

Dakota Hawkins, 14, of Cabot, is recovering in Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock, after being taken to the emergency room on Monday. He woke up vomiting and complaining of abdominal pain. He is being treated for high liver enzymes.

On Tuesday, Dakota’s mother, Sharon Hawkins, wrote in the family’s online journal


that he seems to be feeling better. He woke up hungry Tuesday morning after a day of not eating.

“We need your continued prayers and appreciate your praises of giving the deserved glory to God for our many answered prayers,” wrote Sharon.

The Hawkins family returned to Little Rock National Airport last Thursday after living in Jerusalem for three months for Dakota to undergo leukemia treatment at Hadassah Medical Center.

After receiving a cell transplant from his mother, Sharon, and brother, Riley, 12, Dakota is now leukemia-free, but is still recovering from the transplants and fungal lung infection. The family is calling Dakota’s battle with leukemia a “Journey of Faith.”

The journey began when the youth was diagnosed with leukemia in December 2002. Dakota underwent five months of intense chemotherapy at Arkansas Children’s Hospital in Little Rock and went into remission, but relapsed in October 2003.

He received a bone-marrow-transplant from his younger brother Riley in February 2004, but his leukemia returned in late November.

In February 2005, while at the M.D. Anderson Hospital in Houston for additional treatments and therapy, the Hawkins family learned of Dr. Shimon Slavin, who offered the family innovative new approaches in cell therapy and leukemia treatment not available in America.

Community fundraising efforts helped the family raise $127,000 within two weeks to cover treatment costs and the family flew to Israel.

Dakota will continue post-transplant cell therapy to prevent the leukemia from coming back.

The family plans to take Dakota back to Israel for a second treatment. His physician plans to infuse Dakota with natural killer cells from both parents.

These cells are often called the human body’s first line of defense against mutant and virus cells such as cancer.