Chase Crawford-Quickel, whose lengthy struggle with cancer was chronicled in his mother's blog, has died from complications of the disease, according to his mother. He was 20.
Born in Laguna Hills in 1989, Crawford-Quickel was first diagnosed with a rare soft-tissue cancer when he was 13, and with leukemia twice afterward.
Nonetheless, he grew into a typical teenager with a dry sense of humor and the occasional eye roll, who never let his disease stop him from pursuing his dreams.
He landed a 240-pound bull shark while fishing in the Florida Keys for his 20th birthday and flew a Cessna, both last month, and planned to sky dive Thursday.
"He liked baseball, fishing and girls; those were his passions," said his stepfather, Dan Quickel of Laguna Hills. "He had never-ending strength and courage and a strong will to live, and he always had another adventure planned."
His mother, Kim Quickel of Laguna Niguel, began blogging to easily update friends and family about her son's condition, but her entries became an intimate chronology of a family's battle to save their child, and portrayed her son's quest for autonomy and independence as he became an adult despite the cancer.
Publicity shy, he agreed to allow The Times to profile him in a Column One last year to raise awareness about bone-marrow donation.
"He didn't want any kind of pity party," Kim Quickel said.
Treatments were successful in improving the quality and length of his life, but the cancer recurred and his health deteriorated in recent months.
On Monday, he went to the hospital for a routine transfusion, suffered a seizure and never regained consciousness. He stopped breathing at 3:16 a.m. Tuesday.
"He was the most courageous young man I've ever met," said Colette Bruce, a nurse coordinator at Children's Hospital of Orange County in Orange. "He never complained. He knew he was dying [but] he wasn't angry. He was always inspiring to every single one of us who have known him the last seven years."
Crawford-Quickel was cremated Wednesday, and his family will scatter his ashes at a favorite fishing spot this spring. Memorial services are scheduled at 10:30 a.m. Friday at Coast Hills Community Church in Aliso Viejo. The family is asking mourners to wear beanies similar to the one Crawford-Quickel wore in recent years to cover his hair loss, and to toss them in the air at the end of the services.
"That's going to be our symbol saying, 'You're free,' " Kim Quickel said.
Instead of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to CureSearch or to the CHOC Cancer Institute.
In addition to his mother and stepfather, Crawford-Quickel is survived by his father and stepmother, Chuck and Myrna Crawford of Frisco, Texas; three brothers, Cody of Laguna Niguel, Corey of San Juan Capistrano and Kyle of San Francisco; two half-brothers, Conner and Dillon, both of Frisco, Texas; and numerous grandparents.