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This fundraiser ended on 02/08/12

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The family of Andrew Peterson is raising money for his funeral expenses on 2/18/12. All donations are greatly appreciated.

As a parent, one of the worst nightmares we can have is hearing that your child has cancer. That became our reality on July 13, 2011, when our 24 year old son, Andrew Peterson, was diagnosed with Squamous Cell Carcinoma: stage 2 tongue cancer,. We were in shock. Here was our son, a young dad of two beautiful children, Annabella and Liam, getting the wind knocked out of him. Two weeks before his surgery, he and his wife had separated but his determination to beat this became more important than ever; to live for his kids.
On August 25, 2011, what was to be a long but routine surgery was the first of many. The surgery involved was to remove half his tongue and the cancer from the lymph node and create a "free flap" from his left wrist area. That procedure went well. However, over the next six days, three emergency surgeries occurred. On August 30th, the doctors determined the free flap had died and needed to be removed. They used his left pectoral muscle this time to fill the floor of his mouth but were unable to rebuild his tonuge, so Andrew was left with half a tongue.
While recovering from the surgeries, he developed a blood infection which required him to stay in the hospital longer. On September 13, 2011, he finally was able to come home. He came home with a tracheotomy (trache) and large hole in his chin. More complications set in from blood clots and chest pains to the extreme pain in his mouth returning. He was even more deteremined to live for his kids.
By the middle of October, the cancer was back and spreading. His team of doctors said they had never seen such a rare and aggressive cancer in such a young person. While back in the hospital receiving his first round of chemo, his dad and I would bring the kids to visit Andrew. From his hospital bed, he would feed Liam his bottle and Bella her girill cheese. He was the amazement of the hospital staff. Unable to speak due to another trache, he still stepped up to care for his children.
More complications arose and another hospital stay happened in November. He became very sick from all of the pain medication. But he still managed to do his second and third round of chemo. By December, the pain in his face and neck and the nausea were becoming worse. Another emergency room visit determined that he had developed an arterial fistula at his trache site. The docotrs informed us that the tumor was much larger and radiation might help with the pain and buy him some more time. Andrew was still determined to fight this horrible disease.
Our Christmas wish was granted; he was still here. As he watched his young babies celebrate Christmas, he struggled with enormous pain.
He tried radiation, but some of the pain and nausea were too much for hm and he wasn't able to do the treatments. On January 5th, he was back in the hospital with a high fever and another infection. but hsi spirit was still to fight.
On January 13th, the doctors gave us the news we were so hoping not to hear. The cancer was so strong that it pushed the chemo away. They informed us that Andrew had maybe two to six weeks left. His dad and i were devastated. To have watched him fight so hard over the past 5 months and now we had to tell him that time was running out. When we walked into his hospital room, his eyes grew wide. The look of shock and disbelief came across his face as we told him the chemo hadn't worked and that radiation might help with pain relief and give him a little more time. Andrew was still willing to fight.
The radiation proved to be too dangerous. He started having seizures while in the treatment and on Friday, January 20th, the decision was made to bring him home for his final days. He came home on the next day and his condition grew worse. By Monday, January 23rd, we know our time with him was growing shorter. And with a final tear and a smile, our very courageous son Andrew was gone. At 4:12 pm, he left us and went to heaven. God must have needed another angel.
Andrew showed more courage, dignity and grace than any other person we've known. The love he had for his children gave him the strength to fight as hard as he did.
Thank you for letting us share his story.
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