By Kim DeRaedt
Fourteen-year-old Andrew McDonough was the epitome of a B+ player and person, and now youth across the Northeast are striving to earn the same recognition. No, this is not an academic compromise where an A+ reigns king. Instead, B+ has nothing to do with a grade; it’s an attitude.
“Be positive” was McDonough’s blood type, attitude, and mission in his 167-day battle with a severe case of leukemia and sepsis. Told he wouldn’t live another day, the high school freshman persevered for nearly six months and inspired millions, yes millions, in the process.
“Andrew’s Story” is a tale of friendship, family, bravery, perseverance, and inspiration all covered with goodness and wrapped around soccer. It’s like a jelly-filled doughnut where the outside is great, but it’s what’s inside that counts.
Andrew was a stellar soccer player no doubt. On a cold Saturday in January, the 14-year-old was drenched in sweat as he smiled and lifted the Pennsylvania Indoor State Championship trophy, a product of four game’s work that day with his FC Delco squad. Two days later, McDonough was brought to the hospital after complaining of pain in his side. Surely it was more than a case of the Mondays, but his family had anticipated appendicitis. A diagnosis of leukemia followed by major septic shock and emergency resuscitation before the night was over was not what the family had bargained for.
Doctors said Andrew wouldn’t make it through the night, but they had no idea who they were talking to. Andrew was fit; his heart was strong. Soccer will do that to a person of course. More importantly, his heart was good. It had been for 14 years, and it would be through his 167-day victory. After all, how else does the AI duPont Hospital ICU’s “sickest child they’ve ever seen” survive? Find out more!