Andrew was a beautiful soul and is greatly missed by all of his family and friends. He was a thoughtful young man with the most beautiful blue eyes you've ever seen. We take comfort in the fact that he is no longer in pain and that he knew without a doubt where he was going.
He was originally diagnosed with melanoma his senior year of high school. They removed a lump in his arm, and he went through treatment as it had spread to some of his lymph nodes. He graduated I believe with a 4.0 (he was sooo smart) and went on to complete his first year of college at Oregon State University (he was a huge Beaver fan). His second year of college, he started to have some headaches and vision issues. In December 2011 he was diagnosed with Stage IV melanoma. It had metastasized to his brain.
He had brain surgery to remove the tumor and radiation, and we were all so hopeful. Through it all Andrew had the most positive outlook and never quit planning and dreaming about his future. Believe it or not, within a few weeks time after brain surgery, he went back to work ... crazy kid. But he was determined and a fighter. It wasn't long after that he found out he had more tumors in his brain. It seemed every time he went to the doctor there were more and more tumors. I think at last count he had 19 in all. They tried many different treatments, but nothing worked. Statistically they say once it goes to the brain, the median survival rate is 7 months. Andrew hung on for 8.
Although I didn't know him well, he was one of my daughter's closest friends and best friend to her boyfriend (and many others). I wanted to share his story so others can learn from our experiences. When this beast spreads to the brain, it is soooo ugly.
My advice is to cherish every second and live each day to its fullest. If you have a loved one going through something similar and they are having a good day ... go to the beach, go to a movie, go anywhere ... just go. And when they can't go ... go to them. Hang out, talk, watch movies, eat Oreos. Make memories.
We were lucky to have Andrew in this world ... even if it was just for a short 20 years.
Polly Crouch, friend