When the Sanders family evacuated their Florida home in September of 2019 just before Hurricane Dorian swept through the area, Andre told his parents that he was having pain around his stomach. As days went by, Andre’s symptoms escalated to vomiting, and his parents knew he wasn’t well. Still in evacuation mode, they brought him to a hospital in Atlanta, GA, to undergo what they thought would be a simple appendectomy. As it turned out, however, their journey was just getting started.
Ten minutes into what was supposed to be a 20 minute procedure, a doctor came out and asked Andre’s parents, Rich and Alexandra, to sit down as he delivered unexpected news, “I found a tumor on his kidney.”
Andre was immediately admitted to the oncology unit, and the pathology report confirmed that the tumor was cancerous; Andre had nephroblastoma (Wilms Tumor), a cancer of the kidneys.
After surgery to remove both the tumor and Andre’s left kidney, the family began planning to relocate back to their roots in Buffalo, NY, where Alexandra had grown up and Rich had attended the University of Buffalo as a collegiate athlete on the football team. Alexandra, a practicing oncology nurse, knew what their future had in store.
"As a mom, you want to take it on for him," she said. "As a mom you want to do this for him, but you can't, this is what we call his battle that he is fighting, whichand we are there for him through everything."
And fight he has. In May of 2020, Andre finished his 33 rounds of chemotherapy and has remained no evidence of disease (NED)!
After leading a donation of Resilience Gives socks alongside fellow Western NY cancer survivor, Ella Seigel, Andre began helping us co-design our very first gown.