A Tribute to Andrew Phillips
Andrew was a spirited, enthusiastic youth who was loyal and devoted to his close friends and family as son, brother, friend and relative. He developed a deep passion for the sea and all things marine, particularly penguins, and hoped to study marine science in his future at a college in Hawaii. He enjoyed percussion and playing in the school band, all kinds of games, jokes and comedy of almost any sort; he was always up for a good joke and raucous laughter. One of his favorite experiences was a mid-summer marine science camp that was held on-board a sloop off the California coast. He carried a deep love of his sister and several very close friends, whom he sought to help in any way he could. He was very flexible and open to new experiences; he hiked, swam, skied, sailed, horseback rode, built continuously with Legos/wood/any found objects, designed visuals on the computer,snorkeled...and hoped to one day scuba dive. He lived fully in his all too short life.
Andrew was diagnosed with osteosarcoma at the age of 15 on November 8, 2007, and he began aggressive chemotherapy just four days later. A reverse total shoulder surgery was performed to remove the primary tumor in his upper left humerus on January 29, 2008, and was followed by six weeks of recovery. He regained significant use of his arm -- such that he could type, write, swim, play pool, and enjoy many of his favorite activities.More aggressive chemo resumed in February, during which Andrew spent two of every three weeks in the hospital; results were disappointing. A clinical trial of R1507 in late July failed. Four days of intense radiation in early September alleviated much pain developing in his left arm. Andrew proceeded to embrace his remaining days with family and friends, including a Make-A-Wish family trip to Hawaii, a week at Lake Tahoe, many afternoons and evenings with friends and family taking in movies, gaming, talking, just hanging, and going for short outings with his wheelchair and oxygen in tow. Andrew passed away early Sunday morning, October 19, 2008, at home in the loving care of his family. He was 16 years old.
Andrew's life has left a painful absence in our family, one that we all seek daily to fill with his unique light in our own unique ways. We honor him best, perhaps, in accepting and remembering his gifts to us, his enjoyments that we can enjoy with his spirit and carry forward in ours and others' lives. We re-appreciate experiences and places that he loved: visiting the Monterey Bay Aquarium, the Hawaiian islands and Lake Tahoe; decorating for the holidays, playing a relaxed family game, sharing jokes and making time to laugh and lighten up, and nurturing an ongoing curiosity about the world.
About Osteosarcoma Research: The highest incidence of this rare disease, osteosarcoma, occurs in males in their adolescence or young adulthood. It is often misdiagnosed as growing pains or temporary athletic injuries. It spreads rapidly and aggressively. Diagnosis and treatment have changed little in more than three decades: treatment includes aggressive chemotherapy regimens combined with resection. We urgently need to develop effective cellular/genetic research and cancer diagnostics to fuel the development of targeted therapies that address the source cancer cells rather than destroy the entire body. We also need to ensure that the Adolescent and Young Adult (AYA) patient group gains access to all (pediatric and adult) clinical trials that may benefit the patients and advance critically needed research.
Donate in Andrew's Memory
At least 97% of your donations in honor of Andrew will be used for peer-reviewed sarcoma research. We hope that this research will better the lives of countless people who face this disease, both now and in the future.
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