This June will mark 18 years since Andrew was diagnosed with leukemia. Where he was then and where he is now are light years away from each other. Honestly, we weren’t sure he was going to see his 18th birthday. He LOVES life. He enjoyed playing football in high school, something he always wanted to do. He was a member of the Leesville varsity team. He first started playing when he was a freshman – since he was unable to play prior to that time. He graduated from college and he is now a police officer. However, in some ways, he wasn't your typical teenager. I remember his doctor telling us how the “cancer journey” can have a positive effect on the cancer kids. I certainly believe that to be true in Andrew’s case. He didn't take the typical teenage chances (skipping class or school, speeding, drinking, drugs). He really knows how valuable life is and he knows how hard he fought to be here. Many times he tells me how “stupid” kids are – and it always boils down to them making bad choices. He doesn’t talk about his “sick” days much. I think he just wants to put that piece of his life behind him. In other respects, he just wanted very much wanted a typical teenager – he wanted to sleep late, play Xbox 24-7, listen to his Ipod way too loud, completely ignore his parents, etc.
Andrew has met many people throughout this journey. Unfortunately, he has lost more friends than he can keep track of. Funding for pediatric cancer is so important. No child should have to endure chemo treatments, radiation, months of being housebound, years of not having enough energy to play. All of our children are our future. We need to find a way to beat this disease so it can’t take any more of them.