In Memory of Andrew Garwood

“Far better it is to dare mighty things, to win glorious triumphs, even though checkered by failure, than to take rank with those poor spirits who neither enjoy much nor suffer much, because they live in the gray twilight that knows neither victory nor defeat.” Theodore Roosevelt, Strenuous Life

Our Mission

The Andrew Garwood STRONG Foundation mission is to accelerate the eradication of brain cancer and to award selective college academic scholarships.
Won’t you help us accomplish our mission?

Did you know...

  • Brain cancer accounts for only 2% of all cancers. It is considered an orphan disease.
  • Per the national Institute of Health (NIH), annual funding for various disease categories totaled $176 billion, of which only $320 million (0.18%) is spent on brain cancer research.
  • 80,000 new cases occur annually in the US. About 26,000 are malignant.
  • Glioblastoma Multiforme (GBM4) occurs in 12,000 cases in the US annually.
  • GBM4 contains many different cells so they are difficult to treat. 5-year survival rate is 5%.
  • Average life span after diagnosis of GBM4 and subsequent treatment is about 16 months.
  • Between 1998 – 2014 there were 78 investigational brain tumor drugs. 75 failed per the FDA.
  • Only 4 treatment drugs and one device were approved by the FDA in the past 30 years.

Dad, Andrew, and Mom

Research Donations

Andrew Garwood Strong Foundation Donations

PayPal Donation

Scholarships

Andrew Garwood Memorial Scholarship

Every year, we award a scholarship to a senior on the Glenbard West High School football team who best exemplifies the character, leadership, and teamwork shown by Andrew. The 2017 recipient is Yanni Pappas, who will be attending the University of Iowa.

Coach, Yanni Pappas, Mom, and Dad

Events

The 2017 AG STRONG Memorial

Our heartfelt thanks to all participants and contributors.

Golf Outing Photos

2nd Annual Golf Outing

Click to download registration form pdf

Where: Mountain View Country Club
(100 Elks Club Road, Boalsburg PA 16827)
When: June 2, 2018
Time: 10:00 AM shotgun start
Format: Foursome Scramble
Cost: $125 per golfer ($450/foursome) includes golf with cart, luncheon buffet, gift bags, and prizes.

Volunteer

Our events cannot be accomplished without many volunteers.

Become a Volunteer

Do you have an area of expertise? Or maybe you are just interested in giving back to the community? Please help us with our mission and volunteer. Your time and effort will be appreciated.

If you would like to volunteer, please fill out the form.

Volunteer Form

Andrew's Story

Andrew was a fun-loving kid growing up. He had a wide circle of friends which even included his younger brother, Alec! He played all kinds of sports during his formative years and even into high school where he played four different sports. But starting with his junior year he focused on playing football for the Hitters of Glenbard West High School. He was also active in many clubs and other activities during his high school years. During these years, Andrew was presented with opportunities to continue to exhibit leadership traits and compassion for helping others.

Upon graduation, he went off to Penn State which was his dream college! He immersed himself in campus life with school, attending Nittany Lions football games, and pledging a fraternity – Delta Kappa Epsilon. Upon becoming a member, he served in many capacities and volunteered for different activities especially for THON – the largest student run philanthropic organization which raises funds for pediatric cancer. In fact, his fellow DKE brothers always wanted to go with Andrew on the fundraising canning trips because he made them so much fun! Over time he held a number of different offices and was selected for the honor to serve as President of DKE for 2014. During that spring he met a young lady that became the apple of his eye!

Shortly after returning to school for his senior year Andrew’s life changed. On August 29, 2014, we received messages and a call that he was experiencing bad headaches and coordination issues that required him to be hospitalized. After meeting the neurosurgeon at Nittany Medical Center the next day it was determined that surgery would be needed to remove a growth identified by an MRI. The surgery took place on September 2nd and on September 5th the neurosurgeon gave us the diagnosis- a malignant tumor. Thus began the treatment journey and a life forever changed.


All three of us returned home a week later and followed up with a renowned neurosurgeon at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. A subsequent MRI indicated that there might be two areas of concern. So, the doctor suggested an awake craniotomy to ensure the removal of as much potential tumor as possible. This second surgery was on September 23rd and more tumor was confirmed and removed. The official diagnosis was a glioblastoma multiforme which is a stage 4 cancer. Shortly thereafter Andrew began a daily regimen of radiation treatments at Northwestern and drove himself the 25 miles each way. Towards the end of the six-week treatment plan, when he became tired, his parents and friends would drive him. He also began his oral chemotherapy treatment. But these treatments did not stop him from traveling to see Penn State play football, his friends, or his girlfriend! He was always upbeat about his condition and telling everyone, that he would beat this disease! Plus, he was looking forward to returning to Penn State for the spring semester.

Just prior to returning to school, his DKE brothers honored Andrew by selecting him as their lone dance representative for the 46 hour no sit, no sleep THON 2015. What an honor! Of course, his doctor expressed his concerns as did some of Andrews friends. In fact, Andrews father asked, “What if you do this and it comes back?” To which Andrew replied, “What if I don’t do this and it comes back? If the kids must go through what they do, then the least I can do is dance for them.” What could we say to that?! So dance he did along with his girlfriend and 700 other students for 46 straight hours! It was a success and by far a highlight of his Penn State years!


Unfortunately, in early March 2015, Andrew suffered a seizure at school that required him to return to Northwestern for more treatment. Another MRI revealed a new growth resulting in his third surgery and second awake craniotomy. But this time there was hope as his neurosurgeon was involved with a trial where he was developing a vaccine that would use the patient’s tumor to fight the disease. This vaccine was called Heat Shock Protein Peptide Complex-96, or HSPPC-96. We all were very optimistic that Andrew would be assigned to the vaccine but he was randomized to the standard of care – the Avastin drug. Upon hearing the disappointing news Andrew commented, “Well, I guess there must be someone else who needs the vaccine more than I do.” Wow. Hard to imagine your child who was looking at a life-threatening condition could think through this so clearly and unselfishly.

The weekly Avastin infusion was followed up with a regimen of more chemotherapy pills. But this schedule did not deter Andrew from his desire to return to Penn State for the summer session to continue his pursuit of completing his degree requirements. Andrew returned to school in late June with plans to return home bi-weekly for his infusions. During his mid-July visit and subsequent MRI, two new growths were revealed which were inoperable. A new course of treatment was mapped out which included proton therapy treatments. However, before that began he enjoyed what would be one last vacation- to the Outer Banks in NC with his girlfriend and her family. What a trip he had!

The proton therapy treatments had to be administered at Northwestern daily for six weeks which precluded Andrew from returning to school in the fall of 2015. It was late summer when the GBM4 disease became more evident by affecting his ability to walk normally. But he was not deterred from beating this disease and he still traveled to where his heart felt most full- Penn State!

In November of 2015 an immunotherapy treatment was identified as having promise for patients like Andrew. Through Northwestern he received two of these treatments on a bi-weekly basis. However, the desired results were not there as anticipated.


As Andrew’s walking ability deteriorated more he wanted to enter a physical therapy program to strengthen his legs. So, near Christmas of 2015 he did just that. We celebrated Christmas in his room where we brought a decorated tree and family presents. But shortly after the holiday Andrew became too weak to continue the therapy and in fact, while in the hospital one last time an MRI confirmed that the disease had spread. Family, his girlfriend, friends, and DKE brothers all made vigils to see Andrew at the hospital and his house in early January 2016. After a few days of being cared for by everyone Andrew quietly fell asleep until he passed away on January 12, 2016 at 12:15AM with his family by his side.

Andrew never complained about his diagnosis. He never said why me or I am too young. Instead, he took this battle head on for 16 months. In fact, during his ordeal he was worried about others and told his mother to make sure that his brother Alec did not get this disease.

Today the Foundation’s mission is to fund research to develop a cure so that anyone who does get a GBM4 diagnosis, will be able to live with it.

So, won’t you help us with this noble cause?

Articles

Partners

Board Members

The Andrew Garwood STRONG Foundation, Inc. has been approved by the IRS as a 501(c)(3) tax exempt foundation. Donations are tax deductible.

Terri
Mom extraordinaire holds down the fort and her FT job and creates the great home life where she is the CEO!

Steve
Fasha is the man of the house who is hard working, always on the go and fun loving!

Alec
A very studious student, leads by example and is enjoying life!

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If you would like information about the Andrew Garwood STRONG Foundation, please contact us by filling out the form below.

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