You probably all know by now that this chapter didn't quite end as planned. Andrew, the heroic and courageous, father, husband, son and friend lost his 14 month battle to Stage 4 Glioblastoma. We all lost. We lost an incredible human being who fought with the strength of a warrior and the kindness of a saint. We lost a brilliant mind and a sweet soul. We all lost the battle.
As we wipe our tears and lick our wounds and grieve the loss of an incredible man the world keeps on spinning. The rain has come and gone in Seattle (and will be back again) and the signs of Spring are around the corner. We pick up the pieces of broken hearts and live, just as Andrew taught us how.
Four weeks before Andrew passed away, he was skiing, tubing and ice skating. Who does that!? Andrew Miadowicz does that. Two weeks before Andrew passed away he was celebrating alongside his children at a birthday party. Who does that? Andrew Miadowicz. Four days before Andrew passed away he was on the very same soccer field where I first met him watching his children play. Who does that? Andrew Miadowicz.
The lessons taken from this great man have truly changed me to my core. Andrew rarely missed a son's practice or game in the last 14 months. In fact, he coached Sebastian's last game to victory in basketball. (We won't mention to my husband that it was the ONLY win) Last baseball season, he helped Sebastian learn to bat and catch a ball, while of course running to play with Dominic on the playground.
In the end, we all won. The ending wasn't pretty, but then again, it's not really the end. We won a friend, a teacher and an inspiration. We won a chance to share a chapter in Andrew's beautiful life and I know we are all better because of it. Andrew will be greatly missed.
I will forever picture him running through our neighborhood or walking to catch the Connector bus. I will see him standing next to Sebastian and Dominic as they begin their new season of baseball and cheering them on, just as he always did. I will see him towering next to his adorable wife and not quite as tall, Heather. I will see him.
What now? Over the next four days we will say our goodbyes to Andrew. We will embrace and lift up Heather, Sebastian, Dominic, Dale and Rosalie (Heather's parents). We will assure Andrew's parents, brother and sister visiting from Poland that we will not let him be forgotten. We will live, just as Andrew would want. We will live.
Many of you have asked about making financial contributions. Much of the money raised for this campaign was used for the trip and other medical expenses. However, instead of canceling this campaign and creating a new one, I've changed the name of the campaign to Andrew Miadowicz Memorial Trust. Any and all future contributions will go towards Sebastian and Dominic's 529 plans, which is what Heather has requested.
The generosity and love of this group will never be forgotten. Many of the contributors had never met Heather or Andrew. So many people came together to make this crusade for Andrew truly amazing.
Please join us for any one or all of the following events throughout the next week to honor and remember Andrew:
Thursday, March 26, 7pm: Balloon release at our neighborhood Redmond Ridge East Recreation Park ( Dropped Pin
near Redmond Ridge East, Redmond, WA 98053
We will release 39 blue balloons and there will be journals to write down your favorite story about Andrew for our boys. If you live out of state or out of town, please consider doing your own balloon release and taking a picture to share.
Friday, March 27, 7:30pm: Vigil at St. Jude Catholic Church in Redmond. We will pray for Andrew, say a rosary, and then all will be welcome to stand and share a story or words about Andrew.
Saturday, March 28, 11:00am: Funeral Mass at St. Jude Catholic Church in Redmond.
Monday, March 30, 2:30pm: Burial at Holyrood Catholic Cemetery in Shoreline. We will pray for Andrew and bury the urn with his remains.
"Anyone and everyone is invited to attend any or all of the events. I know this is how Andrew would want it to be. Please help us to celebrate the life of my wonderful husband by joining us. " Heather
Just over a year ago my husband and I moved our family to Redmond Ridge from Kirkland, WA. Many of those close to me know that I had reservations about moving further away from the city that I had grown to love and call home. However, Redmond Ridge offered natural beauty and space for our kids to ride bikes and play in a safe and beautiful community setting. We moved in November of 2013.
With a soccer field outside our front door, it didn’t take long to meet neighbors and make friends. It was on a sunny winter day that we met our first neighbor on the soccer field. He stood well over 6 foot tall and was kicking the soccer ball with his six year old son, Sebastian. He introduced himself as Andrew. We immediately struck up conversation, introduced our oldest sons, and learned that he and his wife also had a 4 year old son, Dominic. We were thrilled to discover this family just outside our doorsteps, with children the same age as ours.
As fate would have it, our oldest boys were placed on the same t-ball team. It had been weeks that winter had kept us from seeing our new neighbors and in that time, Andrew was diagnosed with an extremely aggressive form of brain cancer known as Glioblastoma. Many of you, like I, have most likely viewed Brittany Maynard’s Death with Dignity videos on social media. She was also diagnosed with this horrific disease and recently lost her fight.
Over the course of the last 11 months, we have seen Andrew at baseball and basketball games helping coach and cheer on his sons. We have witnessed him running the trails in our community. Just this past week, we sang happy birthday alongside him to his youngest son, who turned 5.
Also, in this past week, we have witnessed the heartbreak as the surgery that was scheduled for this past Monday was called off due to his recurring tumors doubling in size. We have seen the brokenness in the faces of Andrew and his incredibly courageous and beautiful wife, Heather as the doctors shared they no longer believe he can survive and have given him weeks, possibly months to live.
Throughout the entire course of this devastating diagnosis, Andrew has fought. Heather has fought. This awful disease does not give way to strength of body, mind or soul. If that were the case, it would not stand a chance against this family. In the next weeks, Andrew will continue to fight as his body is pumped with more chemo to help extend his life and in that time we will all continue to pray that a cure is right around the corner.
Until then, Heather and Andrew are continuing to create beautiful memories for their children as they prepare for Christmas. Andrew’s mother is here from Poland and it is the hope of Heather and Andrew to reunite Andrew’s family for a family trip in the next few weeks. The hope is a trip to Hawaii, where they can spend this time with family on the beach playing in the sand and creating memories before his cognition is affected. This trip, similar to the last few weeks, will most likely have seizures scattered throughout the days and tears shed into the night. However, just as this diagnosis has not defined Andrew or his family, they will continue to live.
I’ve created a gofundme account with the hopes that as a community of neighbors, friends, fellow parents and even strangers, that we can help support this family either by financial contribution, hopes, prayers, perhaps even all of these. Until a cure is found, we will hold onto hope and pray that this family feels the love of a community. Please join me.
- Michael Crystal
- Kirill Gavrylyuk
- susan & jay mcduffie
- Carole Griffith
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