SOQUEL -- Greg Melendy, a Soquel resident who battled leukemia since he was a senior in high school, died Monday. He was 25.
Melendy was born in Portland, Ore., and moved to Soquel with his parents at a young age, attending Main Street Elementary School, New Brighton Middle School and Soquel High School. He also studied at Cabrillo College.
His biggest love was music, though movies were a close second, Melendy's mother Vicki Melendy said.
He was also a fan of the Food Network, watching the mouth-watering cooking shows even when he wasn't able to eat or drink, she said.
Melendy had been part of several choirs, including the ones at Soquel High and Cabrillo. For his Make-A-Wish request in 2005, Melendy asked the charity to donate a grand piano to the music program at Soquel High.
"He was a big classic rock guy," Vicki Melendy said. "He was a vocalist. Music was his love."
In October 2004, Melendy, at age 16, was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a complicated form of the disease due to the addition of the so-called Philadelphia chromosome.
His father, Jim Melendy, said he remembers the day Greg came to him complaining of small red dots on his legs. After a quick search of the Internet, Jim Melendy learned the spots were serious and should be seen by a doctor right away. They were a sign his son's capillaries were leaking blood, Jim Melendy said.
Their local pediatrician, after examining the spots, directed Melendy to go to Lucile Packard Children's Hospital at Stanford.
For the next eight years, Melendy faced a steady stream of chemotherapy, infections, experimental drugs and a bone marrow transplant in January 2009 in attempts to save his life.
There would be lulls, up to a year at a time, when the doctors said they couldn't detect the cancer.
Unfortunately, after some time the blood cancer would return, each relapse worse than the bout before, his family said.
Things grew worse in August when Melendy started having trouble hearing and his speech became slurred, his father said.
Doctors discovered fluid had been building pressure in his brain and performed surgery to drain the fluid.
The brain surgery was successful; however, the leukemia had spread to Melendy's spinal fluid and other complications arose making the outlook grim.
"There was little prospect of any quality of life. He decided no more treatment," Jim Melendy said.
Melendy had amassed a collection of T-shirts in recent years. According to his father, Greg's favorite was the one that read "My oncologist is my homeboy."
"He was not average by anyone's standards," Vicki Melendy said. "He just looked at the world different than most people."
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BORN: Nov. 17, 1987
DIED: Jan. 21, 2013
FAMILY: Parents Jim and Vicki Melendy of Soquel; sister Lisa Melendy; brother David Melendy; grandmother Catherine 'Cay' Melendy
SERVICES: 1 p.m. Feb. 2 at Congregational Church of Soquel, 4951 Soquel Drive, Soquel