(WFRV) — An optimistic woman with a glowing personality–taken away by a rare blood disease.
Now, her family is honoring their daughter’s life with a blood drive.
“If you asked her to do anything, she would be the first one to step up,” said Dean Ekberg, Nicole’s dad. “Something needs to be done, there was Nicole. She’d do that.”
Nicole Ekberg would have been 32 years old today.
“She’d received about 89 transfusions before her death,” he said. “And we thought, ‘Well, she got the blood she needed. Maybe we can help out and replenish the stock.'”
She was diagnosed with a rare blood disorder called aplastic anemia, where the body stops producing enough blood cells.
Nicole lived with the disease for eight years.
“If it wasn’t for blood from the Red Cross, she wouldn’t have made it as long as she did,” said Ekberg. “She needed blood every other day at the end.”
A bone marrow transplant was her best chance for a cure. But one was never found and she died just before her birthday last year.
But her family knows that she’s looking down, smiling.
“Knowing Nicole, she probably wouldn’t say anything,” he said.”You wouldn’t find her–a little shy, a little bashful. But I think she’d be very proud.”
The family hopes to make the blood drive in Nicole’s honor a yearly tradition.