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Luca Velleco

February 27, 2015 – March 10, 2020

As a family of seven, we thought our lives were complete. Then Luca came along and became the piece we never knew was missing. Luca’s name means “bringer of light”. And he couldn’t have been more aptly named. Anyone who met him has been touched by the light of his contagious laughter and zeal for life. While his combustible curiosity and lightning fast speed always kept us on our toes, Luca from his earliest moments filled our days with unexpected joy. Luca showed incredible balance and coordination since the first day he could walk and demonstrated natural athletic ability with his cute size 3 soccer ball and baby shin guards. Luca loved to climb, go exploring, swim, and ride his 3-wheel motorcycle. His future was bright and full of promise. Then, just after his 4th birthday, out of nowhere DIPG interrupted his blissful life. His tumor announced its presence abruptly with the added complication of a hemorrhage, which rendered him limp and unable to stand or eat for weeks. DIPG was the most horrifying thing we had never heard of before, and it was impossible to comprehend that there is still no cure.

We cheered when Luca completed his radiation treatment on May 24th, 2019, which successfully shrunk the tumor and extended his life. We will always be grateful Luca was blessed with a honeymoon period, during which we were able to take an amazing trip to Disney that made Luca’s spirit soar. His eyes lit up with dreams and joy on that trip, and we hold onto those treasured memories. Luca continued his fight against this deadly brain cancer with determination that inspired us all. On his hardest days, he still wanted to play and pushed himself to do the things he enjoyed, such as cook, build blanket forts with his big brother, and play hide-and-seek. What was truly remarkable about Luca was his capacity to possess and demonstrate love for others. Luca was happiest spending time with his family and loved dancing, watching “love” movies, snuggling, teasing and laughing. Oh, how he loved to laugh! In his last visit to the ER, when the buzzer announced the infusion was complete, Luca brightly piped up, “The pizza’s ready!” We all burst into much-needed laughter. We adored our little Luca. We marveled at his spirit and stood in awe of his fight. And now, we mourn the loss of his light every single day.

Submitted by Luca’s mother, Catherine.