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Friday, May 27, 2005

Cancer treatment in Israel saves Arkansas boy

A Cabot family is back home tonight after more than three months in Jerusalem. 14-year-old Dakota Hawkins and his family went there so he could be treated for a rare blood cancer.

After hospitals in the U.S. exhausted treatment options, the Hawkins found out about a procedure in the Middle East not approved by the FDA. Two weeks ago we told you Dakota was suffering complications, but doctors finally decided he was strong enough to make the trip home.

Dakota underwent cell transplants that fought the leukemia. His mom and brother were the donors. And the results, they say, can only be called a miracle. Today Dakota is cancer free.

But friends and family wouldn't rest until they saw Dakota themselves. They waited at Little Rock National Airport Thursday evening. His cousin, Bethany Cameron says, "I don't want to let go when I see them, I’m just so excited.” “It feels like part of our hearts has been missing. It's been the longest three and a half months in our lives,” adds Dakota’s aunt, Donna Cameron. Dakota's cancer treatment came with no guarantee, so the reunion is an emotional one.[...]

Dakota will continue to see doctors and may need to return to Israel for one more cell transplant. The family also expressed disappointment the treatment that saved Dakota’s life is not approved by the FDA. It took hundreds of thousands of dollars for the family to travel to Jerusalem and get the procedure done. They are thankful to the community in Cabot who helped raise that money.