The family of a 6-year-old Southern California boy with leukemia remembered him as a remarkable, joyous boy full of love and adventure.
Carter Ankeny, 6, of Orange County, died Sunday as a result of leukemia.
“He was the most remarkable, joyous, intelligent and loving little leukemia warrior,” his mom, Jamie Ankeny said in a statement to NBC 7.
Carter battled cancer for two years "with a smile on his face," his mother said.
“He lived life to the fullest and did more in his six years of life than most do in a lifetime. . .We are so incredibly grateful for the memories and moments with ... son, our hero," his mother said.
Close family friends, and many who knew Carter, said the boy was full of love.
“This kid was love incarnate,” added Matthew L. King, a close family friend. “He never showed that he was sick. He gave everybody strength just watching him. We all thought he was going to beat it, and unfortunately it [cancer] won.”
Some may remember reading about Ankeny this summer when one of his wishes came true: his family took him to Legoland for a weekend packed with fun and excitement.
The family vacation did not come without challenges. Carter had been in remission for a while after an initial diagnosis of acute lymphoblastic leukemia had disrupted his life two years prior. But leukemia was back, and soon, so would be his treatments.
“We had it [the vacation] booked and everything and then the day after Fourth of July this last Wednesday … we received a call from his oncologist that he had just relapsed with leukemia,” Carter’s father, Tim Ankeny, said in July.
The family did not give in, and with the help of the park’s children charity, Merlin’s Magic Wand, Carter was able to create some more memories before another round of treatment, with the forced isolation it entailed, would begin.
“[I want to] have a picnic, go [to] Legoland, eat popsicles, read lots of books and watch movies,” Carter told NBC 7 after checking out his family’s room at the Legoland Hotel back in the summer.
A GoFundMe account was set up when Carter was diagnosed for the second time with cancer. The account is still active as the family faces expenses in the aftermath of his death.