NOTE FROM NICK
Life comes at us quickly. Many of us realize this when we first become adults. We get jobs, increase our level of responsibility, and most start families. My life was simple. I was a single 28-year-old, working and going out with friends. I thought I had life figured out. Boy was I wrong. It was in June of 2014 when my world and the world of those I love the most would change forever. It was the day Andrea got diagnosed with Breast Cancer. I remember the phone call. I was driving out to a work event in CT and Andrea and I were on one of our 6 or 7 daily phone calls. Up to this point, this was the worst call by far. Andrea was crying and scared, and I was helpless and unhelpful. See most of us don’t understand what it is like to be told our world has been flipped upside down. That we are sick. That the future is unknown. That we might die.
We all understand that we will die. But this was different. This was real. This was in your face. As I spoke to Andrea that day I made her one promise, that I would do everything in my power to make sure she got through this. As her younger brother by 10 years I think Andrea took a “yeah right, thanks Nick” approach to what I said. But I meant it. Every word. Over the course of the next four and half years we would have an immense number of ups and downs. We’d go from remission, to cancer spread. From the scans were good, to we need to take a different approach with treatment. Every step of the way myself and my family would make sure that Andrea was taken care of. That she could concentrate on fighting. That she would win.
Looking back, we weren’t perfect. We made mistakes. Sometimes maybe we pushed too hard. But there is no blueprint, no playbook to successfully navigating the waters of cancer. Each person is different. They have different bodies, different situations, and different emotions. Andrea was tough. And I mean tough. She was the type of tough that would drive from East Longmeadow 2 hours to Dana Farber Cancer Institute in Boston to get chemotherapy all day. Drive 2 hours back just to have a weekend packed with sporting events, birthday parties, teenage shenanigans, and playdates. All while feeling the affects of her treatment just days before.
My father and I used to tell her that she was draining herself. That there was no way that all this extra stress was helping her fight this deadly disease. We didn’t get it. But now I do. Once Andrea became diagnosed with terminal cancer, it was going to be on her terms. She wasn’t going to quit. Wasn’t going to lay down and let whatever was left of her life be determined by cancer. Andrea still worked, traveled for work, and maintained the lifestyle that she had her whole life. Independence.
That is the inspiration behind Team Andrea. There is no right or wrong way to approach one’s fight with this disease. No one way to live. Each person needs to find their way. What works for them. What helps them cope with being sick. That’s where we come in. We saw firsthand the stress that daily life puts on the patient. Relationships, children, jobs, bills, daily chores, all add to the pressure of the battle. If Team Andrea can help one family pay their bills, get a house cleaner, pay for their children’s sports, plan that once in a lifetime vacation. Then we have succeeded. Through your donations we can make that happen. We can let patients know that they aren’t alone. That people care. That we empathize with their situation. That we believe in them.
Andrea’s fight has ended. But her experience wasn’t forgotten. It wasn’t for nothing. It taught us something. It taught us the strength of the human soul, the human body, and most importantly the strength of women. These are our mothers. Our daughters. Our sisters. Our cousins. Our aunts. Our nieces. OUR FRIENDS.
We at Team Andrea are committed to helping. For those of you who have already became a part of our journey we thank you. For those who haven’t, hop on board. We are creating something special. Something that will last. Something that will help.
“If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.”
WE ARE TEAM ANDREA
President, Team Andrea Foundation