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Melody Massuk, Martinez girl battling rare brain cancer, dies

MARTINEZ — Melody Massuk, whom the community has rallied around in her fight against a rare brain cancer, succumbed to the disease Thursday evening. She was 6.
In January 2016, Melody — then 4 1/2 — was diagnosed with Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma, or DIPG, a rare form of brain cancer that strikes only a few hundred people each year, almost all of them kids. This came after she complained to her parents her legs hurt, that her vision was blurry and that she was extremely tired.
Melody Massuk, 6, succumbed Thursday to a rare form of brain cancer. (Dan Rosenstrauch/Bay Area News Group) 
The family had fought for Melody to get experimental treatment from British doctors for her difficult-to-treat tumor, but in mid-2016 doctors at the University of Bristol ultimately rejected treating the young girl. Soon thereafter, Melody underwent an experimental procedure closer to home.
Melissa Sullivan, Melody’s mother, said Friday she was too distraught to talk about her daughter. But in a Facebook post early Friday morning, Sullivan said her daughter died at home with family all around.
“She fought with fierce determination and bravery for 18 months and five days,” Sullivan wrote. “Though it was brutal, she never lost her spirit.”
There were well-attended fundraising events in Martinez for Melody’s medical expenses, and as of late Friday morning, more than 160 people had left comments of condolence on the Facebook post.
Sullivan said Melody’s tumor was donated to UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital for research to fund treatments and a cure for Diffuse Intrinsic Pontine Glioma.

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