Andrew is an avid athlete whose one true wish was to learn how to snowboard. Nothing would make him happier than being on the slopes, creating lasting memories with the ones he loves most—his family.
Being diagnosed with Osteogenic Sarcoma at eleven-years of age was very challenging for Andrew, particularly because he loved playing sports, including basketball, football, soccer and baseball. What worried him most as he was undergoing this very frustrating time was the thought of not being able to play sports again.
If there's one thing Andrew loves more than sports, it's family. So he chose a wish that joined his love for his family and sports together - he wished to go to Colorado with his family to learn how to snowboard!
Andrew was ecstatic when he heard the good news at his send-off party at Dave & Busters that his most heartfelt wish was coming true. Leading up to his wish, Andrew had to endure multiple surgeries, but the idea of snowboarding down fluffy, white, powdery mountains gave him the hope and strength he needed to get through them. His wish was all he could think about and the excitement of his fun-filled snowy adventure with his family brought a huge smile to his face and overflowing joy to his heart.
To kick off their chilly vacation, Andrew and his family checked in at the Village at Breckenridge, which is surrounded by the peaks of Colorado’s Rocky Mountains. There were unlimited opportunities for alpine fun and it was the perfect place for them to rest between their activities.
When Andrew’s mom saw her son go down the mountain for the very first time, it truly touched her heart and brought tears to her eyes. Andrew was enjoying sports again with his loved ones and not having to worry about any treatments, surgeries or doctor appointments. After only two days of lessons, Andrew was snowboarding like a pro!
Andrew had the time of his life shredding it up on the snowy hills, going sledding, tubing and playing in the snow with his family. They even had the opportunity to groom the mountain while riding the Snow Cat! And if that wasn’t enough excitement, the team at the resort introduced Paralympic Games snowboarder Keith Gabel to Andrew’s family.
After talking over breakfast, Andrew was inspired by Keith’s achievements despite the physical challenges he had to overcome to make his dreams happen. Keith showed Andrew that his medical condition doesn’t have to hinder him from pursuing his passion sports. Instead, Andrew was motivated to overcome any obstacles his illness might present, in the pursuit of his sports aspirations. Keith and Andrew maintain their new friendship and keep in touch with frequent phone calls to one another.
“He had such an awesome week, he’s already planning on taking up snowboarding and planning his next trip,” said Andrew’s mom. The week spent in the snow was exactly what Andrew needed. Instead of worrying about his health, he was able to just have fun and dream about his future filled with hope and focus on improving his newfound snowboarding skills! “It proved to him that he can do anything he sets his mind on,” said Andrew’s mom, “It gave him so much freedom and gave us all the opportunity to enjoy ourselves and just have fun.”
Special Thanks: Alaska Airlines, Village at Breckenridge, Keith Gable