Andrew

Andrew

Andrew is youngest of three. He's our baby. He had always been healthy and happy, never so much as an ear infection. We did everything by the book: ate a mostly organic and home cooked foods, used non-toxic household products and maintained an active lifestyle. In February 2013, Andrew was diagnosed with Stage 4 High Risk Neuroblastoma at CHOP (Children's Hospital of Philadelphia). He was 4 years old. I will always remember when the doctors walked in and broke the news. Andrew has endured more than thirteen rounds of chemo, two rounds of high dose radiation (MIBG) treatments, three rounds of painful antibody treatments, 5 months of experimental drugs, numerous surgeries, and countless blood transfusions and procedures. A rare side effect of surgery left him hospitalized for 10 weeks. After undergoing treatments for more than 2 years, Andrew still has not reached remission. It did leave him with chronically low platelet level, high frequency hearing loss, Hypothyroidism and Osteopenia. Since he did not respond well to standard therapies, Andrew has been participating in various phase I/II clinical trials only a few months into treatment. After all that he has endured, Andrew has remained a happy and well behaved little boy. He continues to amaze us with his will to survive, his maturity, his humor, and most of all his optimistic view of life. I disliked using terms like "hero" or "warrior" to describe my sweet little Andrew, because it would imply that he had a choice in the matter. I think that he would agree with me that he would rather be a "normal" little boy rather than a "brave" little boy. While the cure rate for pediatric cancer has improved in the recent decades, Neuroblastoma remains one of the most difficult to treat. There are so much about this disease that is still not understood. It is rare, so there is very little government or pharmaceutical research funding that goes into Neuroblastoma research. A majority of the funding comes from private sources, such as Cookies For Kids Cancer. We are so grateful for having options. They represent HOPE! Before Andrew's diagnosis, I didn't know any child with cancer. I looked away from the St. Jude posters with the bald smiling faces. Children with cancer... It's too much to bear. It's easier to pretend that it would never happen to anyone that I know. Thank you for reading Andrew's story. Thank you for not looking away.