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Ana Susko, 8, loses battle with brain cancer

  • SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Anastasia (Ana) Susko
    SPECIAL TO THE TIMES NEWS Anastasia (Ana) Susko
Published August 29. 2014 04:00PM

On Tuesday, Anastasia Susko, 8, lost her battle with diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, a rare and serious pediatric brain cancer.

"Ana" was diagnosed with cancer on Oct. 1, 2013.

She had been given a 35 percent chance of survival for the following two years.

After she was diagnosed, she wanted to experience many things, and her family, friends and community did everything they could to help fulfill her wishes.

Her community rallied around her in support and held various fundraisers to raise money for alternative treatments, conventional treatments, to help with expenses and to help her dreams come true.

Ana would have been a third-grader at L.B. Morris Elementary in Jim Thorpe.

She has been described as a beautiful, smart, athletic and spunky little girl who had an amazing family.

She was the beloved daughter of Andrew and Akantha Susko. She had an older sister, Kayla, and older brother, Ian. They referred to themselves as "5 strong."

Diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma is a disease that strikes at the heart of childhood. DIPG affects the pons portion of the brainstem, rendering nervous system function impossible.

Symptoms include double vision, inability to close the eyelids completely, dropping one side of the face, and difficulty chewing and swallowing. Unfortunately these symptoms usually worsen rapidly because the tumor is rapidly growing. DIPG, for all its difficulties, presents an opportunity for all forms of cancer. It is one of the most resistant of all cancers to chemotherapy treatments. It affects primarily children and with a "dismal" prognosis, alternatives are few.

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