Thank you Sandlot Hero very much for helping us open doors and touch the hearts and minds of people for our cause of fighting childhood cancers with our story.
I never thought that my son, at 14 years old, would be one of my best friends! Not just my son…but best buddies.
My son, Andrew McDonough, was everything I wanted in a son and in a friend. He was also the kind of person I wanted to be when I was 14. To a large degree, I am who I am because of my friend and son.
While many people ‘know’ Andrew because of his valiant 167 day battle with cancer, there was so much more to him. Yes, he did go from playing 4 games of soccer on Sat. Jan. 27, 2007 and helping his team win a Pennsylvania State Championship to a diagnosis of leukemia, sepsis, and cardiac arrest just 48 hours later! And, sadly, yes, he endured nearly 50 surgical procedures, 4 strokes, and a brain aneurysm during this battle. On 4 occasions, the doctors told us that Andrew would not live through the day. My world came crashing down at 1:55pm on July 14, 2007 when my 14 yr old son died in his 16 yr old sister’s arms.
Andrew was an elite soccer player, but he was also a straight ‘A’ student in high school. He was super out-going, but also one of the most sensitive people I have ever met. There were many sides of Andrew; very few people ever saw them all. But, they were all good.
Unfortunately, people often wait until one dies to share stories about them. One of the stories that so aptly describes Andrew’s kindness came from the mother of a grade school classmate. She told us that Andrew was ‘Captain’ in gym class one day during 8th grade. The class was playing kick ball and, with the first pick, he picked her son. Her son was the child who always got picked last. Andrew knew what he was doing. While no one will ever remember who won that game of kickball, Andrew gave that boy a memory that he will carry with him forever. And, Andrew sent a loud and clear message to the kids in the class. Andrew lived to make a difference in people’s lives and he touched, and continues to touch, so many – in life and from Heaven.
I start and finish every day in my son’s bedroom. It is completely unchanged from that fateful day in January 2007. There are no words to describe the sadness that I feel, that my wife feels, that my daughter feels. Parents often say that the worst thing that could happen to them is something bad happening to their child. It is a MILLION times worse. I don’t know why this happened, but I don’t dwell on this. At the risk of sounding cold, it is what it is. Unfortunately, I can’t change this. While it may sound odd to say, I do consider myself tremendously blessed. I have been married to a wonderful lady for 28 years and I HAVE two great kids. Unfortunately, I can only hug one of them.
My wife (Chris), my daughter (Ali), and I started The Andrew McDonough B+ (Be Positive) Foundation (www.BePositive.org) not to build memorials to Andrew or to try to bring him back. We started this to save your child’s life. “B+” – “Be Positive” – was Andrew’s blood type and the upbeat way that he lived. Did you know that less than 4% of federal cancer research dollars are allocated to childhood cancer research? And, equally sadly, there are thousands of families in our country who are battling childhood cancers and are unable to pay for the treatment and their other incremental expenses associated with the disease.
For that reason, The B+ Foundation funds childhood cancer research and assists families of kids with cancer all over the country. This year alone, I will write over $500,000 in checks to families in 47 states (hey, Utah, So. Dakota, and Wyoming, we’re here to help you too!). When we receive a ‘thank-you’ note from a family, the most consistent theme is that not only have we given the family money, but we have given them HOPE! We couldn’t give this hope without the support of thousands around the country.
When you lay your head on the pillow tonight, ask yourself one question. Did you make a difference in the life of at least one person today?
Live Like Andrew
B+ (Be Positive)