Wednesday, December 19, 2001

Nikki Losekamp, fund-raiser to fight blood disorder, dies

By Rebecca Billman
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        MASON — A 14-year-old Mason girl who spent much of her young life raising money to fight the disease that she and her brother suffered from died Sunday.

        Six years ago, Nikki Losekamp was diagnosed with Fanconi anemia, a rare, genetic blood disorder that causes the shutdown of bone marrow. Bone marrow is vital to blood production.

        Two months ago she underwent a successful bone marrow transplant. She died at Children's Hospital Medical Center after acquiring an unrelated infection that her body was unable to fight off.

        When her family found out she had Fanconi anemia, her little brother, Eric Lee, was tested as a possible donor. That's when doctors discovered he had the disease.

        Nikki decided to become active in helping to find a cure. She fashioned red, white and gold ribbons to resemble a strand of DNA and affixed them onto lapel pins. She said the colors of ribbon represented red and white blood cells and blood platelets.

        She sold the pins for $2 each and created other items, including bookmarks and bracelets. In total, Nikki helped raise about $38,000 making and selling crafts, soliciting donations, and pitching in at car washes and rummage sales.

        The money went toward Fanconi anemia research and her own medical bills.

        Last year, Nikki was only able to join her seventh-grade class at Mason Middle School for a couple of weeks because of declining health. This year she studied at home with a tutor.

        Nikki loved outdoor activities such as swimming, hiking and horseback riding, said her father, Eric Losekamp. “She loved anything to do with any kind of animal. There wasn't much she wouldn't try.”

        She also crocheted and enjoyed reading.

        In addition to her father, survivors include: her mother, Elizabeth Losekamp; her brother, Eric Lee; and her grandparents, Robert and Nancy Losekamp of West Chester, and Jerry and Ida Hammons of Mason.

        Mass of Christian burial will be at 10:30 a.m. today at Good Shepherd Church, 8815 E. Kemper Road, Montgomery. Afterward, a prayer will be said and doves released at the Mary shrine near the church. Burial is at Rose Hill Cemetery in Mason.

        Memorials: Fanconi Anemia Research Fund Inc., 1801 Willamette St., Suite 200, Eugene, OR 97401.


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