Dane Kasschau, a former South Side High School athlete, died...

Dane Kasschau, a former South Side High School athlete, died on Jan. 25 at age 39 while battling colorectal cancer. Credit: Family

Dane Kasschau was the favorite uncle among his nieces and nephews, according to his two brothers and sister.

A former lacrosse captain and long-distance runner, he lived in the moment so completely that he brought the best out in his siblings, wife, young son and daughter, his loved ones said.

A freshman year walk-on to the Lehigh University lacrosse team, Kasschau finished senior year as team captain. That followed earlier successes as captain of the lacrosse team at South Side High School in Rockville Centre.

Kasschau, 39, died on Jan. 25, nine months after a diagnosis of stage 4 colorectal cancer. He "never complained to anybody" or "showed he was upset" as he spent his final months with family, inspiring nurses and medical staff with his resolve, said his brother Brant Kasschau, 41, of Rockville Centre.

Dane Austin Kasschau, who lived in Dover, Massachusetts, worked in digital advertising sales for Yahoo, He is survived by his wife, Elaine "Lissy" Kasschau, daughter Austin, 5, and son Jack, 2. Another son is due in about two weeks.

The weekend before Kasschau died, the family learned they were having a boy after slicing into a cake with blue insides during a gender reveal while Kasschau was in hospice care.

"It was sad and happy at the same time," his brother Jared Kasschau, 43, of Rockville Centre, told Newsday. Jared Kasschau served as Nassau County's attorney under former County Executive Laura Curran.

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His sister Paige Merendino, 33, said her brother "took all he could out of every day."

When the extended family would head out to the North Fork of Long Island for getaways, at Nassau Point, "we would joke that he was the Camp Kasschau counselor," Merendino recalled.

"He would wake up and he'd say, ‘All right, we're going for a run,’ and then he's like, ‘Who's playing pickleball with me?’ "

He made everyone feel "magical," Merendino said. "He did it so that every single person at the house could have a smile on their face."

Dane Kasschau, a former South Side High School athlete who...

Dane Kasschau, a former South Side High School athlete who later raised awareness about Crohn's disease and colitis, died on Jan. 25 at age 39. Credit: Family

Kasschau suffered from symptoms of Crohn's disease and colitis, both inflammatory bowel diseases, since his senior year at Lehigh. His family is encouraging people to be screened for colorectal cancer, particularly if they have Crohn's or colitis.

Jared Kasschau and his wife, Deirdre Kasschau, along with Merendino, ran the New York City Marathon in November and raised more than $21,000 for colorectal cancer research.

In one week since sharing an online fundraiser, The Dane Austin Kasschau Fund, to support the Crohn's & Colitis Foundation, the family raised more than $100,000.

A recent event at The Tap Room in Rockville Centre drew streams of people during the day to pay tribute to Dane Kasschau.

There, current South Side lacrosse coach Steve DiPietro presented the family with a framed jersey with No. 7, the 2001 graduate's number.

Dane Kasschau was skilled at drawing, often making Etch A Sketch art in the mornings for his daughter, Austin.

He also wrote poems, including one for Austin two years ago about a race they ran together.

His wife reread his poem "Our Race" to Dane shortly before he died, Jared Kasschau said.

It ends: "These moments are so much fun / No record keeping of who won / The time spent together / Is the memory each will hold onto forever."

Besides his wife and children, his brothers and his sister, Dane Kasschau is survived by his parents, James and Eileen Kasschau of Rockville Centre.

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