Still grieving from their loss, Kaden’s grandfather Bill Book Jr. and Aunt Jean Book also remembered the boy from Borden’s wide smile, even in the face of adversity. Instead of focusing on his own pain, he comforted others, including his mother and father, Halie and Kevin Book.
“He was never about Kaden. He was always worried about mommy and daddy and how they were feeling, and everybody else,” Jean said. “Even the day before he passed, we have a picture of him. He had that big old smile. He had that smile through the whole thing.”
With his body not responding to traditional chemotherapy treatments, Kaden was one of the first patients in the nation to undergo an experimental antibody therapy. For a while, it worked. Cancer free, he was able to return home, a prayer answered for the family.
But toward the end of February, the cancer returned and consumed his body within a week. He died Feb. 25 at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital.
“His last words are what I’ll remember. He was laying there and he had an oxygen mask on,” Bill said. “My son told me he looked at his mommy and said, ‘Mommy, I see people. I see Jesus playing with all the children in heaven. I’m ready to go to heaven now.’ He took three deep breaths and he was gone.”
Although Kaden has left this earth, medical and other bills remain for the Book family. Contributions from the Chili Bowl will help alleviate some of them. Others who wish to donate to the Books may do so through a Kevin Book: Help Kaden Book account at any Your Community Bank.
Loss has become an accepted part of the fundraising event. Several years before, Jason Applegate lost his wife Andrea to Burkitt’s-like lymphoma four months before the Chili Bowl. Money raised went to her beloved niece for a scholarship fund. Likewise, the guys hoped to help Todd Denison’s father Larry this year, but Larry passed in November from the same disease that had killed his son.