Garage sale aids Bothell family of leukemia victim

BOTHELL — Mikayla Bassett enjoyed arts and crafts projects and the color purple. She loved school. It’s no wonder: the 8-year-old had an IQ over 140 points. And last year she loved being healthy enough to show up in school nearly every day.

“She would use Facetime on her iPad to participate in class from her hospital bed. On Hawaiian day, she was even dressed up,” said Jane Weiss, her second-grade teacher. Mikayla, via Facetime, sat at the front of the class on a computer screen.

Last June, the Bassett family found out that Mikayla’s leukemia had returned. Mikayla died on Jan. 26. Her family lost a daughter and sister. Medical bills left them in financial ruin.

But the Bassetts aren’t alone in their struggle. They have an entire community behind them.

That’s why on Saturday, all proceeds from a fundraiser, the Mikayla’s Journey garage sale, will be donated to the Bassett family, in hopes that they can afford to stay in the Bothell area. The sale is set for 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Mikayla’s elementary school, Crystal Springs in Bothell.

Fewer than 1 in 10 of those helping the Bassetts ever knew Mikayla, Weiss said.

Lorri Kostenko had three children go through Crystal Springs Elementary. She never met Mikayla, but Kostenko knows first-hand what it’s like to battle the disease, because both she and her son had it.

So when Weiss asked Kostenko if she could help out the Bassetts, Kostenko wasted no time in planning the event. Already ingrained in the cancer support community, she came with resources and know-how.

“We’re on the go. … It’s going to be a mad scramble to get everything priced and ready,” Kostenko said. “Everyone has been so fabulous, we’ve had donations from everywhere, from Alaska… someone who is coming from Idaho is bringing stuff.”

Realeen Bassett, Mikayla’s mother, is grateful for the community’s continuous help through Mikayla’s illness.

“Hopefully when things are settled we can give back to the community what was given to us, because that was what Mikayla wanted,” Bassett said.

“She is a leader, and she is artistic … and she is the greatest sister to her siblings … and she is my best friend.”

Realeen said it’s difficult to use the word “was” because Mikayla is still with her.

“I have her in my heart,” Bassett said.

Christian Zerbel: 425-339-3452; czerbel@heraldnet.com.

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