Aspen Deke was first diagnosed with a rare form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 4.

By Georgia Slater
February 03, 2021
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A Missouri teen who beat a rare form of cancer three times has died from complications related to the novel coronavirus, according to her family.

Aspen Deke, 17, of Kansas City, died Saturday evening nearly three months after she was diagnosed with COVID-19, her parents told local Fox 4 TV station.

The Fort Osage High School junior was first diagnosed with a rare form of acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 4. At the time, Deke was given a grim prognosis, her parents said.

But Deke went on to beat the cancer three times after going through four years of chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant.

And as difficult as battling cancer was, Deke's parents said their daughter's experience with COVID-19 was much worse.

"At least with cancer, as bad as it sounds and it is scary, but there's a lot that you know about it. They can say, 'this is how bad it is, this is what we are going to do. This is what we expect.' But with this everything is unknown," Eric Deke, Aspen's father, told Fox 4 last week.

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Deke, who was diagnosed with COVID-19 in November, was admitted to Children's Mercy Hospital almost two weeks before Christmas.

Christmas was Deke's favorite holiday, the teen's friends and parents told the outlet. The high school student loved to bake cakes and cupcakes for upcoming holidays and always bought gifts in advance for her family and friends.

She had been staying in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit since New Year's Eve, most of the time intubated on a ventilator, her parents said.

As of Tuesday morning, there have been more than 26.3 million cases of COVID-19 and at least 443,295 deaths from the virus, according to recent data from The New York Times.

While approximately 1.3 million people are receiving a COVID-19 vaccine every day in the U.S., less than 2 percent of the country has been fully vaccinated, the Times reported.

The information in this story is accurate as of press time. However, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to evolve, it's possible that some data have changed since publication. While Health is trying to keep our stories as up-to-date as possible, we also encourage readers to stay informed on news and recommendations for their own communities by using the CDCWHO, and their local public health department as resources.

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This story originally appeared on people.com