May 2, 2006 — Dec. 19, 2018
Andrew M. Masse, the 12-year-old whose four-year battle with brain cancer inspired his family to raise money for other pediatric patients, died Dec. 19 in his Derby home.
His death was mourned by family, friends and officers in the local police departments who had encouraged him in his fight.
"Andrew was an inspiration to us all," the Evans Police Department posted on its Facebook page. "Andrew and his family showed us the true meaning of love, faith, compassion and strength."
"His service with us, along with numerous other departments, was short, but full of meaning," posted the Town of Hamburg Police. "Our hearts, thoughts and prayers are with Andrew, his family, friends, and many supporters who journeyed with him in his battle against the illness which claimed his life today."
Andrew was the son of Mark and Jennifer (Ciesla) Masse and brother of Cortney, Danielle and Matthew Masse.
Over the summer, Andrew was sworn in as an honorary officer in several departments. In the Town of Evans, he was welcomed as an honorary officer and participated in the department's lip-synching video. In the Town of Hamburg, he was a SWAT team member for a day and wore badge No. 28. In the City of Buffalo, while being sworn in as an honorary officer and road captain, he agreed to obey all laws, his parents and traffic rules, to listen to his teachers, be kind to animals and to help senior citizens.
At the 2015 WYRK Taste of Country concert, Andrew held a sign reading "I Held On," and was pulled onstage by singer Dierks Bentley. The sign was a reference to both his cancer treatment and Bentley's hit song, "I Hold On."
In 2014, Andrew was supported by students at St. Mary’s High School, his mother's alma mater, who raised funds with a jeans day and by wearing his favorite color, yellow.
In July 2014, girls from the Academy of Theatre Arts in Williamsville staged a performance for more than 150 people in the Amherst backyard of one of the students, Camryn Clune. The "Backyard Broadway" performance raised more than $4,000.
The Masse family learned in the spring of 2016 that Andrew's cancer had returned. His family asked for birthday cards for Andrew, who was hospitalized for about a month in Roswell Park around that time. He received more than 800 cards from all over the world.
In 2017, the Masses teamed with the family of Camryn Clune of "Backyard Broadway" to launch The Care Project, a charity established to give local families with hospitalized children grocery, gasoline, cafeteria and other gift cards to help with their everyday expenses. Jennifer Masse estimated that gas, parking and food could cost about $100 a day for the family of a hospitalized child.
Besides his parents and siblings, Andrew is survived by grandparents Sandra Schaefer and Henry and Barbara Ciesla; an uncle and many friends.
A Mass of Christian Burial will be offered at 10 a.m. Saturday in St. John Paul II Church, 2052 Lakeview Road, Hamburg.