Thursday, July 7, 2022

Six-year-old battling rare cancer receives support from community

Six-year-old Andrew Evatt was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, receives support from the community. (WYDaily/Courtesy of Alison Fuller)

WILLIAMSBURG  — Andrew Evatt is a kindergartner who loves Pokemon and Taekwondo. 

And at six years old, he’s fighting cancer.

In April, Andrew’s father, Drew, took him to the emergency room of their local hospital in Cleveland, Ohio following Andrew’s complaints of back pain and a fever. 

After testing, the doctors found a significant mass in his chest. 

Andrew’s parents, Drew and Laine, were then told the shocking news that their six-year-old was diagnosed with stage four neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that is often found in glands which sit atop the kidneys. 

With only around 800 new cases every year in the U.S., out of those 800, even fewer of them are found at Andrew’s age. Typically it is found in children under 18 months. 

“His tumor is bigger than my hand, bigger than a grown man’s hand,” Drew said.

Tucked between his spine and his left lung, Andrew’s back pain arose from the pressure starting to slowly push his left lung down onto his spine. 

Andrew’s chemotherapy began in early May, beginning an 18 month process of radiation, surgeries, therapies and, at some points, three-week long hospital stays. 

All of these challenges are what makes Andrew one tough six-year-old.

“He’s in his lightest part, but he’s been doing great so far,” Drew said. “He’s able to sit through these two to three hour scans.” 

While Andrew does not quite understand that he has a tumor, he knows that he is sick. His family tries to brighten the days by playing Pokemon, throwing parties and getting some sunshine. 

“The number one thing is getting outside as much as you can,” Drew said. “You’re in those hospital rooms for so long.”

With the financial constraints of Andrew’s upcoming intense treatments, Andrew’s aunt and Williamsburg resident, Alison Fuller, is raising money for the Evatt family. 

“This is devastating for his family, and for all of us who know and love him,” Fuller said. 

As news spread of Andrew’s diagnosis, Fuller said that many people in the community began reaching out, wanting to help.

Though she lives hundreds of miles away, Fuller set up a GoFundMe to help cover the expenses Andrew’s parents will face, including medical and daycare for their other children. 

“The response from our local community has been amazing,” Fuller said. “From our kids’ orthodontists to our pets’ veterinarian, from my husband’s business partner to our church family at King of Glory [Lutheran Church] and neighbors, the donations have been rolling in.”

Drew said that the support is “amazing” and that he hopes Andrew’s story will allow more people to learn about the rare form of cancer. 

“Williamsburg is a special place,” Fuller said. “The kindness and generosity of this community will impact Andrew in meaningful, life-changing ways.” 

“Each donation opens up new possibilities for getting Andrew the best treatment available and helps make an overwhelming diagnosis seem a little more manageable,” she added.

To give support through Andrew’s GoFundMe page, click here.

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