New Canaan Country student loses battle to leukemia
Updated 2:38 pm, Saturday, December 28, 2013
STAMFORD -- Kyle Markes, the 11-year-old Stamford boy known for his effervescent personality and broad smile, lost his year-long battle with leukemia on Tuesday.
Markes attended New Canaan Country School where earlier this year classmates rallied behind him as it appeared the cancer was going into remission. The remission didn't last and in July, Kyle's family learned the cancer had made an aggressive return -- landing him back at Yale-New Haven Hospital where he waited for a bone-marrow transplant.
"Our Country School community is devastated by this loss," said Tim Bazemore, the head of school at New Canaan Country School. "Kyle Markes was a happy and kind boy, who was beloved among his peers, teachers and all who met him. We were all so proud to have known him and learned so much from his strength and courage over the last year."
A number of bone-marrow donor drives were held to find a match for Kyle, but since he is of Jamaican descent, there was a small pool of potential donors.
Of the 10.5 million registered bone-marrow donors in America, only 7 percent -- or 720,000 -- are African-American or black. Still fewer are Jamaican.
Kyle was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia -- the most common form of childhood leukemia -- in November 2012 after returning home from school one evening and telling his mother he felt as if he was "dying."
After a battery of tests, the then 10-year-old was diagnosed early the next morning. He left New Canaan Country School for the rest of the school year for treatment.
Six months earlier, Kyle was assigned by his fifth grade teacher to make a commitment to raise awareness about a charity and he chose The Magic Johnson Foundation. In explaining his choice at the time, Kyle said while Johnson was "not as great as Michael Jordan," on the court, in life he was extraordinary.
The choice was easy, said Kyle, who added that "Magic Johnson did not just sit around" when he was diagnosed with HIV in 1991. He did something about it.
Throughout his treatment at Yale, Kyle remained positive and had earned the title of "Mayor" of the children's oncology unit, thanks to his outgoing ways.
Kyle attended pre-school at Mothers Little Helper in Stamford; kindergarten at Newfield Elementary School; and was in 5th grade at New Canaan Country School.
Kyle was a member of Jack & Jill of America, Stamford/Norwalk chapter; First United Methodist Church Children's Choir; Stamford Football; Stamford Youth Soccer; Stamford Youth Basketball; and Go-Kart Racing School Grand-Prix.
Kyle is survived by his parents, Dr. Jackqueline McLean-Markes and Walter Markes; his brother, Andre Markes; his sister, Kayonne Markes; and his grandparents, Anthony and Beryl McLean. A celebration of Kyle's life will be held at First United Methodist Church at 42 Cross Road on Jan. 4 at 10 a.m. A wake will be held on Jan. 3 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m. The family asks attending guests to avoid wearing somber colors to the service and if at all possible, to incorporate Kyle's favorite colors -- orange, blue or cream.
Kyle will be the honored hero at the Leukemia/Lymphoma Society of Connecticut's Pineapple Classic on May 17, 2014. In lieu of flowers, you may donate or participate on "Team Kyle's Corner" at www.ct.pineapple.llsevent.org.