Battle Ground boy dies after long battle with leukemia

By Paul Suarez, Columbian web producer

Published:

 

Luke Jensen, a 9-year-old boy who has been fighting leukemia since 2007, died Thursday in his family’s Battle Ground home.

“He stepped through the door, into heaven and God’s arms this morning at 10:45,” the family wrote on its online CaringBridge journal Thursday morning.

Luke’s condition quickly worsened over the past few days, said his father.

“He had a restless night of sleep last night,” Steve Jensen said Thursday afternoon. “This morning he was very, very quiet. About 10:30 this morning his brother, Jake, came up to him and said ‘I love you,’ hugged him and started crying.”

Luke, who had been quiet for hours and couldn’t form words, made a voice back to Jake, his father said. Some visiting cousins said their goodbyes. A few minutes later he died.

On the Web:

To keep updated with the Jensens, visit their CaringBridge site here

“It was very peaceful and beautiful,” Steve said. “I’m so glad that Jake got that chance. It was cool to see Luke was clearly responding to that.”

Luke was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in 2007. He underwent several rounds of treatment at Doernbecher Children’s Hospital, including two transplants with bone marrow that was donated by his siblings, Tori and Jake.

When the cancer recurred in March, doctors said there weren’t many options.

“Right away they (doctors) were saying ‘I’m sorry,’ ” Steve said. “When he was diagnosed in 2007, they had a plan. They talked about odds and said it was an uphill battle but they had a plan. When he relapsed last year they had a plan. … This time around there was no plan.”

Luke touched many lives in the past few years.

Staying connected

Family members started documenting their story on http://www.caringbridge.org, a website that provides space for families to stay connected with relatives and friends during health crises. Steve said the family started using the site for that reason, but over time started seeing followers from all over the country and a few from outside the country.

“I didn’t want to write things that would upset people, wanted to control how people respond,” he said. “I decided that I needed to be honest, vulnerable and not put on a happy face.”

The Jensens’ Battle Ground home was packed with friends and family Thursday and had “the typical mix of laughter and tears,” Steve said. There will be a memorial service, but details are not complete.

“We intentionally put off talking about plans,” Steve said. “We wanted to be in the moment … and cherish what we had.”