Ethan Alexander Arbelo, 12, died Thursday, July 3, 2014, at his mother's home surrounded by friends and family.
A former student at Orange River Elementary School, he was diagnosed with grade III anaplastic astrocytoma in March 2012.
On Oct. 31, 2013, he was honored with the title of Honorary Marine. His mother, Maria Maldonado, who also is a U.S. Marine, arranged the ceremony as a surprise, referring to the mission as "Operation Devil Pup."
Ethan Alexander Arbelo
"He went out like a Marine," his mother told a friend on the phone hours after her son's death. "Swift and silent."
Last fall, he said he imagined heaven as a place where he would run around and play tag with his grandma and some other kids who had died of cancer.
Since his diagnosis, he had planned to fight the disease until it lost, but in recent months he had come to the realization that he might not beat it.
"If you lose, it doesn't matter because you still tried,"?he said.
He is survived by his mother, Maria Maldonado; father, Jose "Tito" Arbelo; sister, Mio Arbelo; half brothers, Jose Maldonado and Nathan Arbelo; and Sgt. Joel Slaymaker, a fellow Marine who he considered a brother.
Services were held Saturday, July 12, 2014, at the First Christian Church of Fort Myers.
In lieu of flowers, donations may be made by contacting (239) 368-7080.
To express condolences to the family, sign his guestbook at: www.andersonpatterson.com.