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Austin Christopher Bielanin, whose battle with a very rare form of cancer touched the hearts of many in the community, died at home Thursday (Feb. 22, 2001), just three months short of his second birthday.

The infant son of Transit Authority Police Officer Michael Bielanin and his wife, Gail, of Buffalo, was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer in July. Shortly afterward he underwent extensive surgery that included removal of two large tumors. He then began chemotherapy that was to last several months.

In September, about 1,500 people attended a fund-raiser at the Pier, bringing in more than $30,000 to help the Bielanins with mounting medical bills. A fund also was established in his name at a local bank.

Austin delighted in his 3-year-old brother, Bryce, and being nestled in his parents' arms on the family's comfy couch. He also loved vacuuming, dancing, playing games, and his cat, Penny.

Besides his parents and brother, he is survived by his grandparents, Frank and Sandy Bielanin of Buffalo and Sigmund and Dolores Racki of Cheektowaga.

A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 9:30 a.m. Monday in St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic Church, 450 Abbott Road, Buffalo. Burial will be in St. Matthew's Cemetery, West Seneca.


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