Beyond Playing Sports, this is a proud segment of this blog. The mantra that this group of writers prides itself on, is looking beyond the playing surface. Andy’s story is no different. Receiving the invitation to the Facebook group called Andy’s Fight peaked my curiosity. Upon reviewing the page, I knew there was a need to for his story to be told.
The page description read, “he is fighting a wicked war with multi-drug resistant Chronic Osteomyelitis.”
That reference to Andy’s fight, directed me to contact the page and ask how we could help. Through this article, Shake Down The Thunder Sports hopes to further the reach of Andy’s Fight and to help the family continue the successful drive of helping Andy and his loving family.
What is Chronic Osteomyelitis
Before I can tell Andy’s story, I needed to go and get educated as to what Chronic Osteomyelitis is.
Osteomyelitis is an infection in a bone. Infections can reach a bone by traveling through the bloodstream or spreading from nearby tissue. Infections can also begin in the bone itself if an injury exposes the bone to germs.
Although once considered incurable, osteomyelitis can now be successfully treated. Most people need surgery to remove areas of the bone that have died. After surgery, strong intravenous antibiotics are typically needed.Mayoclinic.org
This is not Andy’s first battle with Cancer. When he was 12 years old, they discovered an eight inch tumor on his spinal cord that forced him into a wheel chair. When it comes to being a fighter, Andy knows how to bring the fight. Andy has also been to the hospital twice during the COVID-19 period and has tested negative both times.
Andy has been an ND fan all his life. He recalls watching ND football with his family on Saturday’s going back many years. I asked Andy about his favorite ND Football memory, besides proposing to his wife Nicki on the 50 yard line at Notre Dame Stadium on the morning of the ND Blue and Gold game April 22, 2017.
The best ND Football memory was with his father. The family traveled to Michigan back on September 17, 1989 when Raghib “Rocket” Ismail returned two kickoffs to the house. They (his father, mother and Andy) scalped tickets to see the game in the Michigan student section. They (students) were yelling at us, but in a good way, all I did was keep pointing to the scoreboard and said keep kicking it to him. It was really that moment that got me into Notre Dame football.”
I asked Andy about what ND has done for his life? “The family atmosphere and everyone you meet becomes family. They are not your blood family, they check in on you and want to know how you are. The more you are around Notre Dame the more amazing people you meet in the world.”
What Would You Say To The Team
I also asked Andrew if he could get in front of the team this season, what would he say to the team to motivate them. What you are about to read is just amazing. I had was lost for words when Andy finished. It was George Gipp worthy coming from a guy battling this everyday.
“Life gives us a bunch of challenges, and right now it’s a challenging time in the world. With COVID-19 and everything else that’s going on. You can’t change what is going on around you, but you can change how you react. This is your opportunity to go out and prove no matter what your feeling, you can go out and win. You can’t change it, so you might as well keep on fighting and do your best each and every day. This is your opportunity to go out there and win.”
Go Fund Me Account For Andy’s Fight
Chronic Osteomyelitis is a financial drain on the expense side. Having to take different medications and battling an insurance should not be what Andy should have to battle as well. Andy continues to battle with the insurance company to cover this medication.
Andy’s nephew started the page, but his sister Amie is a playing a major role as well. The Go Fund Me account link is here. Amie and Nicki explained the financial difficulties that fighting this horrible Cancer has put on the family.
Andy’s fight is offering “aNDy Strong green bands for a donation of $10 or more. Please consider donating to help and and his family defray some of the medical expenditures in his fight against Chronic Osteomyelitis.
The Wrap Up
It was such a great opportunity to chat with Andy and to see how much he loves Notre Dame and to see how his desire to fight this nasty disease. Personally, Andy is an inspiration to me and I will try to be like Andy. In the end, even in a Notre Dame loss, the sun will rise and it will set and do the same thing the next day. There is nothing more important than having a strong desire to fight and willing to face the challenge of a new day.
Cheers and Andy, Fight Like A Champion Everyday my friend ☘🏈🌩