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Pearl City teenager fought rare cancer

By Rosemarie Bernardo

LAST UPDATED: 3:33 p.m. HST, Apr 10, 2011

Gavyn Kame Takamoto, a Pearl City teenager who battled an extremely rare form of cancer for two years, died April 1 at Kapiolani Medical Center for Women and Children. He was 15.

Takamoto, who enjoyed fishing, bowling, baseball and golf, was diagnosed in March 2009 with a desmoplastic small round cell tumor, a cancer of connective tissue, blood vessels or fibrous tissue that surrounds and supports organs.

This type of cancer represents less than 1 in 10,000 cancer diagnoses in the United States, the National Cancer Center has said. His oncologist, Dr. Darryl Glaser, said in a 2009 interview that he had never before treated someone with the condition.

Doctors diagnosed Takamoto's condition after he complained of back pain and felt lumps in his abdomen. He underwent two major surgeries to remove a basketball-size tumor from his abdomen and another tumor the size of three grapefruits from his pelvic area.

While undergoing treatment, he never complained about his illness or the side effects from treatment.

"He never felt sorry for himself," said an aunt, Sharon Baba.

His mother died in February 1996 after she suffered from an amniotic fluid embolism while she was about to give birth to Takamoto. Doctors performed an emergency cesarean section.

Takamoto's grandfather Kenneth, who adopted him, said he fought the cancer until the end.

Baba said Gavyn was an inspiration to many, as he taught them how to appreciate life.

Family members described him as friendly and thoughtful.

"He was concerned about other people when we were all so concerned about him," Baba said. "He was an amazing kid who touched a lot of lives. He's going to be missed by so many people."

Takamoto is also survived by his aunt Alice Konstantino and uncles Kyle and Kent Takamoto. Visitation is at 8:30 a.m. next Sunday at Hosoi Garden Mortuary. The service will begin at 9:30 a.m. Flowers welcome. Casual attire.

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