An Abbotsford Police officer who battled a rare form of brain cancer and received treatment in Arizona died Thursday morning (March 26).
Ryan “Chopper” Masales, 46, died with family and friends by his side, according to a post on a GoFundMe page that was set up by his wife Estelize – also an Abbotsford Police officer – to raise money for his treatment.
Masales was diagnosed with an aggressive stage 4 brain tumour in September 2016. His form of cancer – glioblastoma multiforme – is the same one that took the lives of Tragically Hip singer Gord Downie and U.S. senator John McCain.
By November 2019, the cancer was growing, but Masales had exhausted all conventional treatments in Canada.
But his tumour was of the type to qualify for a study being performed at the Ivy Brain Tumour Centre in Phoenix, Arizona.
The GoFundMe page was set up with a goal of raising $200,000 to cover the costs, which were not covered by Canada’s medical services plan. (The total amount raised to date is almost $176,000.)
Estelize said she was determined to raise the money to help save her husband. The couple are parents to a seven-year-old boy, Ryder.
By early January, enough money was raised for Masales to go to Arizona, and a police escort accompanied him and his family into Vancouver, where they stayed overnight before leaving on their flight the next day.
In Phoenix, Masales underwent brain surgery on Jan. 15 and intensive chemotherapy, but did not quality for phase 2 of the study. He was sent home to Canada to continue treatment, but Estelize wrote on March 8 that her husband’s disease had progressed to the point where “our focus has now switched from saving his life to preserving his quality of life.”
“Ryan will not undergo any further treatment aside from pain and symptom management,” she wrote.
The update about Masales’s death asks that any messages of condolences be sent to email@example.com.
“We thank you for the love and support during this very difficult time, and Ryan would want you to know how grateful he was for everything that you all have done. Thank you!” Estelize wrote.
Masales’ policing career includes working for the Abbotsford Police Department, the Vancouver Police Department, the Combined Forces Special Enforcement Unit and the BC Undercover Program.
Abbotsford Police Chief Mike Serr posted on social media on Thursday, saying that the department had “lost a brother.”
“Despite his prognosis, Ryan never gave up or lost his sense of humour. Ryan and his wife Estelize showed so much love and courage throughout,” Serr wrote.
Today our #AbbyPD family lost a brother. Cst. Ryan "Chopper" Masales after a lengthy battle with #cancer. Despite his prognosis, Ryan never gave up or lost his sense of humour. Ryan & his wife Estelize showed so much love & courage throughout. #RestInPeace Ryan you fought bravely pic.twitter.com/1PjSxKGjG0
— Mike Serr (@ChiefSerr) March 26, 2020