Twelve-year-old Andrew is mature beyond his years. Having recently lost his right leg to bone cancer, he said, “I want kids to know that you should be thankful for everything you have, because one thing could change your life.” He misses going to school with his friends. He misses basketball. But Andrew isn’t bitter.
The people of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, he says, are “like angels on earth.”
Andrew was referred to St. Jude in January after a local clinic found a mass to be the cause of the swelling around his knee. Doctors often send their toughest cases to St. Jude because St. Jude has the best survival rates for some of the most aggressive childhood cancers. St. Jude diagnosed the tumor as osteosarcoma — a type of bone cancer — and began chemotherapy. But the tumor did not respond to treatment, necessitating amputation above the knee.
If Andrew can get up every day and do what he has to do…then I’ve got no excuses.
Andrew’s dad Herman, a Commander in the United States Navy, was on a command tour over 2000 miles away when Andrew learned he would lose his leg. That was tough, but Andrew’s illness has brought this father and son closer together. Their bond has deepened, and Herman has transferred to a nearby base to be with his family during Andrew’s fight.
Andrew’s fight is not over. He is now battling tumors in his lungs. “If Andrew can get up every day and do what he has to do…then I’ve got no excuses,” said Herman. “You get to see, through tragedy, what people are really made of, and he’s an awesome kid. I can’t find the words to describe how wonderful Andrew really is.”
Editor's note: We regret to inform you that patient Andrew passed away in October 2016.