Drew is doing great and as you can see from this clip, he is anxious to get back to his team. Physical therapy continues and hopefully within the next 2 months, he'll be off crutches. He walks well with a walker and does several different types/sessions of therapy/strength training. We are so very thankful to know that he is now cancer-free! Yup! Free from Cancer!!
This past month, he was given the go-ahead to put weight on his leg. He said the first time he tried, it took a few minutes for his mind to allow it. He had been so used to "protecting" that leg that it took a dose of courage and "you can do this" to take the first step. Once he got the first few steps out of the way, he was good-to-go.
I never really thought about that aspect of rehab as much as just the physical part of it. Going from playing college hockey and skating every day, to non weight bearing for several months must be very different. He has since done a lot of walking and exercises in the pool which allows for the 50% weight-bearing limit.
On April 1st, Drew will have a follow-up appointment to include x-ray/MRI/Bone scans. That will be the 3 month review. Until then, he continues life at home in Michigan spending lots of time outdoors and with his family and close friend's. Drew is honored to have such an awesome support group that has stood along his side in addition to the Man above! We are blessed beyond measure!
It is difficult to watch this clip without tears of joy! Drew is an inspiration, without a doubt. I can imagine it had to be hard for Drew to hold back his emotion's during that night. What a beautiful dedication to him by his Friar family. Listen to what Coach says....Hockey is life to these guys but watching Drew fight a bigger battle makes you realize how much one person can change your world. The comradery amongst the Friar hockey team and families is unbelievable!
Picture: I wonder who will shoot the first rabbit.... Drew or Merceya?! She is very excited about her birthday gift!
Just a quick hello! Drew is doing great! He has been able to enjoy this hunting season and proudly took two nice bucks! His chemo has continued and more intensive physical rehab will start next month. He was happy to visit his Friars and hopes to be in skates within the next few months. Thank you for all the positive thoughts and well wishes. It continues to make this recovery period a smooth one.
Happy to say....Drew is doing great with PT. He seems much happier and very motivated to start moving/walking. Today he used his walker twice. Trying to balance on one leg and move the walker is a task but of course he is making it work. His pain has been better controlled and he has been sleeping well. They also removed another one of the drain's today. All positives to report :)
We are so very grateful that Drew has a very positive outlook/approach to all of this. Also that he is used to challenges both physically and mentally. He knows the feeling of achievement and winning both on the ice and off the ice. We know that he is winning this battle against Cancer and that each day is a step closer to getting back with his team and in his tree stand to hunt.
Please, Please, Please refrain from "stopping in" to visit him at the hospital. Drew needs his rest between therapy sessions and until his family gives us the "go" to visit, we ask to keep the contact to emails and phone calls. Drew has such a supportive group of friends and family that it is hard to not allow visitors but for now, the best choice. Soon enough though! Thanks for the understand, all the positive encouragement and prayers for healing!
Spoke to Aunt Sandy: Drew is doing good. He had some of his tubes/machines removed this morning. He will be receiving more blood today. With the femur be the longest/strongest bone in our bodies, it produces most of our red blood cells so the need for transfusions is normal and expected. The surgeon will be in this afternoon and they will discuss possibly having him get into a sitting position on the side of the bed today. Drew has yet to eat any solid food so hopefully today he will want to try it. I would imagine his throat is quite sore from being under anesthesia for so long. Please continue prayers, hopes that his pain subsides some, that his immune system keeps him strong and defensive and that his mind be at ease that he is on the road to being cancer free!
I (Gretchen) am working with the Red Cross to host a blood drive in Chelsea. I will let everyone know as soon as we have the details. ☺
Six weeks ago when we started the planning for this dinner, Drew was suppose to have a break in chemo for this week however that changed. He finished chemo yesterday and now his White Blood Cell count is low which makes him very susceptible to illness and infection. His doctors/nurses suggested that he wear a mask and/or be extremely cautious with contact of others. Most people's first reaction is to want to squeeze/hug/embrace/hand shake the sweet Drew we all know. Ours too however we kindly ask that you remember he is a tough kid but a simple cold bug could become a lengthy hospital stay. Thanks for the understanding! We hope to see you there!
As many of you already know, last week Drew had several tests done to evaluate the progress of this cancer and chemo. We are so happy to tell you all that that cancer has not spread and that the actual tumor on his femur has reduced in size. It is now about a third of the size. The past few months of chemo were aimed at confining the cells within and around the tumor with the possibility of reducing it in size. We have achieved both! Thank God!
We are well aware that the support from many of you has certainly helped this happen. Drew has kept a positive outlook and been extremely courageous during these initial months of treatments.
We also know that although fighting cancer is a physical battle, the mind is a powerful thing and without a positive outlook cancer could take charge. In this fight with Ewing Sarcoma Drew has been in charge and for this we are thankful! Despite not always feeling well, sleepless nights from unbearable pain, and long days receiving chemo he still remains happy and on-the-go.
He made a bird hunting trip with a buddy recently and had a great time helping a farmer clear his barns. He also went to a family cabin up north for a 4th of July BBQ.
As he is missing being with his team of Friars, he is getting a much needed dose of “hockey” spending it with his loyal Chelsea Bulldogs! He has been assisting Coach Wright and Nick Vetter with coaching the Varsity Hockey team. He still holds the record of most points scored (92) in a season for Chelsea so I am sure they are excited to have his help.
He also received a weekend visit from his Friars Coach Nate Leaman and a surprise visit at the hospital from Steven Shamanski (Last year’s team Captain). It makes us happy that Drew has such awesome friends!
Today Drew is receiving chemo at home through his port. He will stop it on Friday at 3 pm and looks forward to being at the Benefit Dinner on Sunday!
The online site to order shirts will be made available for this weekend. I will post the link once it is ready for orders. Thanks again for every prayer, donation, t-shirt ordered, message, dinners, cards and all of the kind thoughts!
This is the link to order t-shirts/sweatshirts for those of you wishing to. As a reminder, the orders must be placed online via the above link within the next five days. The cart will close on the 22nd and all orders will be printed and shipped. Thanks again for all of your support!
We are excited to see many people have ordered shirts! We are looking forward to seeing people wear them.
Drew is very thankful to have so many awesome people standing alongside him. We know the power of positive thinking and to know countless people are sending positive thoughts and healing prayers, is a wonderful feeling. We thank each and every one of you! Each message and well wish gives Drew a little more strength.
This week he will not receive any chemo. They give his body a rest in between rounds so this is an "off" week for him. The plan is to do one more round of chemo then reassess him. During the week of July 4th, he will undergo many tests to make sure his treatment is going as planned. The tests/scans will confirm that the cancer tumor is contained and has not spread to any other parts of his body. They do not expect the mass to shrink necessarily but the hope is to keep it confined. We anticipate only good news and that his surgery will be the first week of August as planned.
Drew has received many encouraging messages, letters and phone calls over the past month. He has been blessed with the opportunity to speak with others who have been through this battle with Ewing Sarcoma. One being a five year cancer-free sports player much like Drew. His case was very similar in that he had a section of his femur removed along with his quad and is doing great. He is able to play soccer with his college Alumni team after being treated by the same physicians that care for Drew. Given the honor to talk to others that have been down this road, specifically with Ewing Sarcoma makes Drew and his family even more courageous! For this we are thankful!
Please note the change in the date and time of the Pig Roast dinner. It had to be changed to Sunday, July 13th 12-7 p.m.
We have finally nailed down a date/location for the Benefit Dinner for Drew. It will be on Sunday, July 13th from 12-7 p.m. Held at Chelsea Fairgrounds in the green event barn. We are planning on doing a pig roast dinner and silent auction. Hopefully it is a beautiful Michigan day and Drew feels well. This will be a great way for everyone to see him and send him off to surgery full of encouragement, big hugs and well wishes.
This past round of chemo had him a little down this weekend. Results of blood-work showed his white blood cell count is extremely low (somewhat to be expected with this) but in return makes him very susceptible to illnesses and infection. He has spent a lot of time at home without many visitors but hopefully soon these numbers increase. Please pray that his immune system recovers quick! I know there are fish to be caught and walks to be taken :)
I will post the flyer for the benefit dinner soon. Also a link for some awesome t-shirts/sweatshirts! Thanks again for all of the support!
On Saturday Drew finished his second round of chemotherapy and tolerated it quite well. The first chemo drug caused him to be quite sick and weak and he had an unbelievable amount of pain. This round was a little different medication/chemo and although the days at the hospital were long, he felt pretty good. Much better than the first. His appetite has been decent and he looks good… Even with no hair under his ball cap :)
We had beautiful weather here all week and we were happy to see him enjoy it. He decided to do some much needed bass fishing! He had a great time out on the lake and out and about with family and friends. We are so very lucky to have such an awesome support group that stands alongside us during this time. We have received so many kind messages, generous donations, care packages, sweet cards and healing prayers. We most certainly feel the love and appreciate it tremendously.
We will keep everyone updated here as to how well Drew is doing. Next week will be three days of chemo then about ten days off. In early August, Drew will undergo surgery to remove the stupid cancerous tumor that is causing all this grief. A section of his femur will be removed and a rod will be put in its place. We expect him to spend five days at the U of M hospital then home to recover. For three months, he will not be able to put any pressure on his left leg. Chemotherapy will continue for six to eight months following the surgery. We remain optimistic that this is only a bump in Drew’s road and that with all of the love and support he has, his recovery will go smoothly.
This week (Tuesday) Drew will begin a 6 day cycle of chemotherapy. It is a different medication than the first round and will be given over a nine hour period each day at the U of M hospital. He does get to come home to rest after each treatment which is great. Please pray specifically for his mind to be at ease and that he tolerates it well without many yucky side effects. We thank you all for the generosity and wonderful messages that he has received. We are putting together a scrap book with your messages included so that he will always have them. He most certainly feels the love, which gives him great strength. We thank you all from the bottom of our hearts!
On May 1st, 2014 Drew was diagnosed with a rare form of Bone Cancer called Ewing Sarcoma.
The events leading up to this started back in March with periods of fatigue, pain and weakness in his left leg/thigh. However not enough to prevent him from continuing to play College hockey for Providence. On March 21st during a playoff game against New Hampshire, Drew really took a hit to his left leg. After the impact on the ice, he had difficulty bearing his own weight with exhausting days of ongoing pain. His physicians at Providence ordered an MRI on April 22nd. The following day Drew was notified that the results of the MRI showed a suspicious tumor. Coach arranged for him to be sent to home to receive on-going care at the University of Michigan Hospital. He flew home to Michigan on Thursday, April 24th and had a biopsy scheduled for the following Monday. The shocking diagnosis was Ewing Sarcoma Cancer, which was 1 in a million chance and just…. unbelievable.
Additionally a full body bone scan and many images of his organs reveled that his cancer has not spread. Praise God!
With his family by his side, they immediately scheduled a procedure to have a port placed. He began his first of many rounds of chemotherapy a few days later. He has done fairly well with his first week of chemo.
So with all of that being said, these few weeks have been a challenging time. We were all given this nightmare without any time to prepare and have had to act quickly.
We have many positive things to concentrate on….
Drew has a loving, faithful family standing beside him, a fun and supportive group of friends, a very determined, strong-willed team of Providence Friars fighting for him, many caring Lions from Kent and a very loyal community of Bulldogs from Chelsea.
His diagnosis came very early in the cancer cycle.
His care was established and he was able to start treatment very quickly.
He is young, fit and a very physically and mentally strong young man.
He is a patient at the University of Michigan which is top in the nation and within 45 miles of his home.
It is very evident that Drew has touched many lives around the world, as the outpouring of love and kindness has been extraordinary! Not just from family, friends and team mates but complete strangers who have reached out to us offering sweet words of encouragement, prayers and advice.
Despite the incredible support from family and friends, the financial strain of his care is starting to become a worry. Medical deductibles, specialty equipment and travel expenses should not become an obstacle for them. Please consider lifting the burden with a donation to his family in addition to including them in your prayers.
The next 8 to 13 months are going to be filled with treatment but with all of the sweet words of encouragement, heartfelt prayers and loved filled hearts he will beat this.
Ewing Sarcoma is a cancer that is curable and Drew Looks forward to beating it and being back on the ice with his team as soon as possible! Please join us in the fight as we spread hope and awareness to all. We can and will CRUSH CANCER!
"We have two options, medically and emotionally: give up or fight like hell." -Lance Armstrong.
Campaign Not Ready
There's an issue with this Campaign Organizer's account.
Our team has contacted them with the solution, it's a simple fix!
Please ask them to sign in to GoFundMe and check their account.