Family loses 11-year-old daughter to acute-onset leukemia

An Omaha father is mourning the sudden loss of his 11-year-old daughter. Doctors say it was leukemia.
Published: Mar. 1, 2023 at 7:59 PM CST
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OMAHA, Neb. (WOWT) - 11-year-old Kavieriona shined bright.

“She loved to dance. She woke up every morning listening to music. She loved school, became a straight-A student, made me very proud.”

But her father Antonio White is now living every parent’s worst nightmare.

It started when she was sent home from school with a fever.

“We thought she had a head cold. We took her to the doctor, they gave her some nausea medicine, some sinus medicine,” said White.

A few days later, Antonio went to wake her up for school, but she wouldn’t wake up.

“Cut the light on and that’s when I noticed she wasn’t responding to my calls,” said White. “Called the paramedics, he instructed me what to do because she was breathing at this time.”

She was rushed to the hospital, where doctors eventually figured out what was wrong.

“The blood tests came back, she had 1.8 million white blood cells and was only supposed to be maybe in the 10,000 range. So that’s when they knew it was some type of blood cancer. They did some x-rays and found out that her brain was bleeding and started hemorrhaging,” said White.

She passed away two days later.

“The blood disease was leukemia. The doctor informed me it was treatable and curable but the main problem was the brain bleeds,” said White. “UNMC did the best they could to make sure we got that last moment. I want to stress that, UNMC did an awesome job.”

The 6th grader had always been healthy, and never showed symptoms or had any head trauma.

According to the Mayo Clinic, pediatric leukemia symptoms can be vague and may be overlooked if they resemble symptoms of influenza or the common cold. Those symptoms can include fatigue, weakness, dizziness, shortness of breath and looking pale.

Nine-year-old Toni remembers her sister through her artwork.

“This is the picture [I] drew of her in the hospital when she had her braids,” Toni said.

Antonio, a single dad to his two other daughters, says his girls are his everything.

“On the ride home, I had a talk with Toni and I told her we have some big steps coming up and we’re going to be there for each other. I mean it’s hard when we wake up every day for 11 years,” said White. “But we’re getting through it. We got each other, we console each other, we sleep with each other so we’re working through it. We just take it second by second.”

He’s now reaching out to other parents.

“Please, please, please, get your children tested. This was unexpected. I thought my daughter was as clean as a whistle, healthy as she can be, and I come home and she’s as sick as ever,” White said.

Kavieriona’s funeral service, also called, Kavieriona’s Party, is being held Friday, March 3rd at 9:30 a.m.

Donations for the family are being accepted through Cashapp at $KMJW23 or Venmo at @mr_white1568.