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Fri, Dec. 13

Friends rally around Kingman student with leukemia

Courtesy<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->This photo shows Dani Curling shortly after she woke up from a 10-day induced coma.

Courtesy<br /><br /><!-- 1upcrlf2 -->This photo shows Dani Curling shortly after she woke up from a 10-day induced coma.

KINGMAN - Dani Curling's friends and family are stepping up to raise money for the ill White Cliffs Middle School eighth-grade student.

Curling, 14, was diagnosed recently with Acute Myeloid Leukemia after complaining of pain in her side. She is being treated at Sunrise Children's Hospital in Las Vegas, where she has endured severe pneumonia and a 10-day drug-induced coma and chemotherapy.

Curling's best friend, Crystal McCaskey, has scheduled a carwash fund-raiser from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 28 at Taco Bell, 3220 Stockton Hill Road. Donations will be accepted, and family, friends and the school's student council will wash vehicles.

"Dani had a pain in her left side on her birthday, and she had a little fever but wanted to have her friends spend the night anyway," said Patricia Hapke, Dani's mother.

"The next day, she still had the pain, so we took her to the emergency room. They took blood and said she either had a serious infection or leukemia."

Hapke said it was strange to hope her daughter had a serious infection, but the alternative left her speechless.

Curling was flown to the children's hospital March 24, where she underwent a spinal tap and bone marrow removal. Hapke said Curling was bleeding internally in her stomach, lungs and intestines, and her spleen and liver were enlarged and causing the pain.

Curling is out of the intensive care unit, said Hapke, and has been relocated to the cancer unit, where she is slowly walking around her room.

Curling will leave the hospital for a week-long break in two weeks, then return to begin chemotherapy that will take place every six weeks for 10 days for six months.

"My whole life has changed," said Hapke. "Everything we do, think, feel and plan is about Dani now. We've been staying here for three-and-a-half weeks, and we pay for our gas, meals and clothing. We left Kingman so fast that we only took a few outfits, and we haven't been back since."

Crystal McCaskey wasn't available to talk about the fundraiser, but her mother, Desiree McCaskey, said the 14-year-old considers herself to be Curling's twin and would do anything for the girl.

"My daughter has a big heart and we are there to support the family because we love them," said McCaskey, noting Crystal has made and sold ribbons for Dani, raising $40 so far. "These girls are like two peas in a pod, and I think what Crystal is doing is awesome."

For more information or to donate, call (928) 263-1047.

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