10/01/2012

The smiling boy who touched Kate's heart dies after leukemia battle

Duchess
Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge shares a smile with leukemia patient Zakwan Anuar during her visit to Hospis Malaysia in Kuala Lumpur on Sept. 13. The 15-year-old, who postponed a blood transfusion for 24 hours so he would not miss the royal visit, died last week. (AFP/Malaysian Dept. of Information)

The story of a 15-year-old boy meeting his princess provided one of the most poignant moments of Will and Kate's royal tour last month.

It was the story of Zakwan Anuar, a leukemia sufferer and patient at Hospis Malaysia in Kuala Lampur. He had put off a much-needed blood transfusion for 24 hours, just so he would not miss the scheduled visit from the Duchess of Cambridge.

He didn't. And, for the first time in a very long while, he smiled. "It was as if the leukemia had gone," said his mother, Norizan Sulong.

Zakwan lost his leukemia battle last week, just two weeks after the visit with Kate.

CardNews of his death reached Prince William and Kate over the weekend. "The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge are saddened to hear of Zakwan's death," said a statement from St. James's Palace. "Their thoughts are with his family at this time."

Zakwan had spent about 15 minutes chatting with Kate as his mother sat beside them.

“Zakwan is normally very sleepy and in pain, crying, almost giving up hope, but today, my God, it was as if the leukaemia had gone," said his mom at the time.

“He is in more pain because he put off his blood transfusion and he needed a lot of painkillers, but I don’t see the need for that now. God bless her. I cannot repay that kindness.”

Kate signed a birthday card for Zakwan (above photo) -- who had turned 15 a few days before -- and talked to him about life in the hospice. “You must be very, very brave," Kate told him. "Are you in pain? You’re a brave boy. Thank you so much for coming to see me.”

Before she left him, he told her she was "very pretty," prompting to reply: "Thank you. You're very handsome."

Kate made sure to include Hospis Malaysia on the tour as a part of her continuing work for children's hospices. She made only her second public speech there, talking about her own education on palliative care through her role as patron of East Anglia's Children's Hospices in Britain.

“Through this patronage, I have learnt that delivering the best possible palliative care to children is vital," she said.

Zakwan's mother Norizan told the Sun in London on Monday that Kate's visit to her son had been “overwhelming."

"I hope William and Kate will have beautiful and healthy children of their own one day," she added.

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