LORAIN — He loved baseball, Spider-Man, video games and his favorite color was red.
Josue Massas, 10, died Wednesday evening in his home surrounded by family and friends after a long battle with cancer.
He had neuroblastoma, a cancer that occurs predominantly in infants and young children, since the age of 4. For a couple years the cancer went into remission, but then it returned.
Instead of being at home, where he enjoyed eating pizza or pastelillos while playing PlayStation or fighting off imaginary villains with the help of Batman or Superman, Josue fought a very real villain for six years.
Chemotherapy, radiation and long hospital stays away from his family became the norm for the once-energetic boy from South Lorain. Cancerous tumors developed on his knees, elbows, spinal cord, liver and lungs.
By mid-January, Josue left the hospital and returned to his East 30th Street home where he entered into hospice care. He celebrated his 10th birthday Jan. 19.
Josue left behind parents Glissette and Luis, younger sister Shai, 8, and older brother Luis, 13. His oldest cousin Isabelle Velez, whom Massas called his aunt, said the boy fought until the end.
“He was a happy, loving boy who always looked out for his family,” she said. “He loved to be with his mom and dad, who were both there until the end. He loved to be with his grandma and cousins. He was just a regular kid.”
Josue was a third-grader at Stevan Dohanos Elementary School. The school comforted their classmate during his illness with a superhero movie basket, a school-created superhero cape and superhero masks in his honor.
Lorain police Officer Jesse Perkins, who delivered stuffed animals to Mercy Regional Medical Center after he was there and heard Josue crying in pain, was at the Massas’ home Wednesday after the boy died.
Perkins, who was recently recognized by his peers for his efforts to provide comfort to Josue while he was at Mercy, praised the strength of his young friend.
“He has got to be the strongest 10-year-old boy that I have ever met in my life,” said Perkins, who has two young daughters. “To see the course of disease is painful, but when you see it in a child, it is even worse. But the one thing I can say about Josue is that the disease might have taken him, but it never broke him. Ever.”
The viewing for Josue will occur 3 to 8 p.m. Tuesday at Richard Reidy Funeral Home. A burial Mass will be celebrated at Sacred Heart at 9:30 a.m. Wednesday followed by burial in Ridge Hill Cemetery. Josue had a wish that no one wear black to his funeral.
Those who wish to donate to the family for funeral expenses can do so at a GoFundMe set up by the Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3.
Checks made out to Lorain FOP Lodge 3 or The Lorain Police Officer’s Charitable Foundation can be mailed to the Lorain Police Department, 200 W. Erie Ave., Lorain, Ohio, 44052.