Andy and Making Headway by Susan Rubin
Andy was a math enthusiast, and loved strategy games, so when his vision became impaired, he immediately went to get checked. He was relieved to hear it was vertigo and that with more rest his sight would be fine. It was just a few days later, that he had an MRI and was diagnosed with a brain tumor. Here is where his analytical mind and determination best served him. He never gave up when faced with a challenge.
Dr. Jeffery Allen, a specialist of pediatric oncology and neurology, and who serves as Making Headway’s medical advisor, met with Andy along with Dr. Sharon Gardner. Together they set a plan to help Andy recover his sight and shrink the tumor. First, Andy had surgery to relieve the pressure and would begin a regiment of of weekly visits at the Hassenfeld Center and chemotherapy for 6 days every three weeks for several months. The chemotherapy would be followed by a second surgery and radiation. Even with this enormous and challenging road ahead Andy’s positive attitude was contagious.
Each week Andy entered the Hassenfeld Center with a bright smile and asked how everyone was doing. He checked in with Gisella to see if she was available for a massage, as he waited for test results or he played with the children sitting in the tiny chairs helping with art projects or pretending to eat the plastic food that the the younger children offered.
Dr. Jeffrey Allen and Dr. Sharon Gardner were our family’s guardian angels for four years. After a short lived remission, Andy’s cancer returned this time with tumors in his brain and spine. He was a warrior until just days before he left. The staff at the Hassenfeld center and the services that are possible by the grants from Making Headway helped our family at the most challenging times.
If I could tell you the most important thing that our family learned during these years is that the only important thing in life is love. Andy learned how to express love and knew that he was deeply loved by so many. His courage brought out the best in all who knew him. His spirit and strength live on in our family’s hearts and memories.
Our family will forever be grateful for the people and services through
Making Headway and the amazing staff at Hassenfeld Center. Andy’s smile will be missed but never forgotten.
Andrew Rubin Ecker 6-5-87 to 7-24-2015