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Are You a Friend of Andrew?

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What if when you were a young boy or girl, your world was turned upside down? What if your life changed from playing outside all the time to living in a hospital with a life-threatening illness?

Throughout his battle against cancer, the toys at the hospital helped him cope and brighten his day. “I can remember getting to pick a toy from a chest after every spinal tap,” Andrew said. “I would be awake during the spinal tap and just think about the toy I was going to get after it was over.”

“What my parents and I noticed was it was usually low on toys, or there was no variety. We started to collect donations from our relatives and then our family friends, and eventually it became ‘Friends of Andrew.’”

“We do collections from different stores, like Kroger, Publix, and Kohl’s, and I go to St. Brigid’s, so a lot of church groups there have helped,” Andrew said. “I typically go to the hospital once a month to deliver donations.”

On time Andrew received a very large donation of books, puzzles, and stuffed animals from Kohl’s.

Andrew will be going to Notre Dame University, and he wants to bring
“Friends of Andrew” with him. “I’m incredibly excited to bring ‘Friends of Andrew’ with me to college,” Andrew said. “‘Friends of Andrew’ is such an important part of my life and a reminder of how fortunate I am to have survived cancer that I could not possibly think of leaving it behind.”

“All of those people who supported me through my treatment, from the doctors and nurses to my family and my friends, have made me want to become a part of that support in the best way possible for kids who might endure the same challenges I did,” Andrew said.
“I feel that as a pediatric oncologist, I could play a very active part in the battle against cancer.”

“What made me want to continue it is just helping the kids who are going through the same thing I went through when I was so young. That has made me want to continue helping in high school, even though I am so far off my treatment. I’m really glad I have kept it up because it’s really helped form who I am as an individual and helped me really appreciate life.”

“That’s very upsetting. Sadly, some kids lose their battle with cancer,” Andrew said. “I try to stay focused on trying to help as much as I can by bringing toys to the hospital and by raising awareness about childhood cancer and how underfunded pediatric cancer research is, which is less than 4% of the national cancer funds.”