Leader Blues

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

NEIGHBORS >> Remembering Dakota

By SARA GREENE
Leader staff writer

Those left behind will never forget him

Hundreds attended celebration services for Henry Dakota Hawkins Sunday afternoon at First Baptist Church in Cabot, a testimony to the many lives he touched. After beating acute myeloid leukemia last spring, Dakota passed away at his home last Thursday morning.

Services started with videotaped presentations of Dakota’s grandfathers, Frank Hawkins of Cabot and Barden Lamb of Delight, sharing some of their favorite memories of Dakota.

Hymns included “I Can Only Imagine” performed by Brent Tullos, “If You Could See Me Now,” by Jerry Miller and “For the Glory of the Cross” written in Dakota’s honor and performed by Lis Geoghegan. Rob Leonard led congregational singing of “Trust and Obey” and “When We All Get To Heaven.”

Laura Crocker, Dakota’s cousin, played “Ashokan Farewell” on the violin.
Eulogies were given by Jimmie Taylor, a family friend and youth minister from Katy, Texas, and by Dr. David Becton, Dakota’s oncologist at Arkansas Children’s Hospital.

Mitch Tapson delivered the message, reminding the audience of how Dakota’s battle against leukemia was like the Biblical battle of David versus Goliath. Jim Coy read a proclamation from Mayor Stubby Stumbaugh declaring March 6 “A Day of Remembrance and Tribute to Dakota Hawkins.”

Services concluded with a slideshow of photographs of the Hawkins family.
Dakota was interred at the old Austin Cemetery. Pallbearers were Zach Coy, John Michael Crocker, Dr. Craig Johnston, Nathan Lamb, Dr. Jeff Hernandez and T. J. Richards.

Dakota was first diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia on Dec. 26 2002 at age 11.After several bone marrow transplants, community fundraising collected $127,000 in two weeks in February 2004 for the entire Hawkins family; Dakota, his brother Reily, and parents Sharon and Henry, to live in Israel for nearly four months in order for Dakota to undergo innovative leukemia treatment from Dr. Shimon Slavin at Hadassah Medical Center in Jerusalem.

After receiving a stem cell transplant from his mother Sharon and his brother Riley, Dakota and his family returned to Cabot leukemia free in May. Leukemia free, Dakota developed graft versus host disease, an autoimmune condition where new cells fight against the host body.