It is impossible to write the story of Andrew Weishar in only a few paragraphs; but here is an attempt:
Andrew Weishar. A first born son to Don and Jean, a big brother to Danny and Nic, and a loving grandson, nephew, and cousin. A St. Damian Lancer, a Brother Rice Crusader, and an Illinois Wesleyan Titan. A student of outstanding achievement, an athlete of countless accolades, and a leader amongst his peers. A devout Catholic, a friend to everyone who crossed his path, and the one that forever changed the lives of so many. A role model, an inspiration, and most of all; a Hero to us all.
Andrew Anthony Weishar was born on October 26th, 1990. His entire life reflected the amazing smile, laugh, and love in which we all remember him. Considered to be the “nicest kid I have ever known” by those privileged to meet him, Andrew invoked goodness in everyone around him his entire life. His faith was instilled in him at an early age, as a student at St. Damian Grammar School. These years not only molded his faith, but also his character, academic superiority, competitiveness, leadership, and drive to be great. And great he was. He went on to Brother Rice High School where his legacy was further defined. In a community of thousands, Andrew shined as a student, an athlete, and most importantly, as one who perfectly portrayed what it means to “act manfully in Christ Jesus.” He was an all honors student with the highest degree of academic excellence, and a team captain as a three-sport athlete. Known for his amazing work ethic, unmatchable drive, and unstoppable determination, Andrew very humbly made his mark on the South-Side of Chicago. Graduating from Brother Rice, Andrew chose to further his academics and football career at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Illinois. Within eight short months, Andrew’s values, kindness, and character became known around not just the football team, but the entire campus.
Before this list of remarkable achievements could be continued as a student-athlete at IWU, in April of 2010, Andrew received the shocking news that he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer. At 19 years old, Andrew learned that he would need to drop out of school, give up his passion, and begin intense chemotherapy and radiation. After a couple months of this treatment, Andrew was brought to Mayo Clinic in Minnesota for an extensive surgery designed to save his life. After the surgery, which left him forever changed physically, we had hoped he could put the cancer behind him, and for a short while, he appeared to have it beaten. Unfortunately, nearly one year after that fateful surgery, his cancer recurred. After inspirationally battling the disease for about two more years, Andrew passed peacefully in his sleep in the early hours of October 12th, 2012.
Andrew’s story, however, is not defined by the date of his birth, nor by the date he passed. Rather, his story is stamped by his actions in between those times, and his legacy that continues to thrive.
There are no words that can do justice to the impact that Andrew Weishar has had on the lives of thousands. Upon hearing the news of diagnosis, and despite its life-changing and deadly reputation, Andrew welcomed the challenge, as if it were just another opponent to defeat. Never complaining, and always reassuring others of his refusal to give up, “I am not done fighting.”-he said so inspiringly in response to the hospital’s offer of hospice care. As more bad news rolled in, Andrew’s optimism grew exponentially. Throughout his battle, he was the one lifting spirits, bringing positive thoughts, and enforcing determination. Even amid his pain, he remained the beacon of hope and inspiration, and he did this all with a smile on his face. Andrew’s time with us could not be a better blueprint of how to live; more than anything else, showing us how to live a life of faith, courage, and strength; and how to live a life knowing that every day is a gift.
Andrew’s story was shared from community to community, state to state, and even across the globe. His inspiration was felt by thousands as he fought for his life, and taught life- lessons greater than any amount of education can provide. Andrew exemplified what it means to live an optimistic life, with constant resilience and a positive attitude. He reminded us to never take for granted each of the blessings we have in our lives. We hope that Andrew’s example will forever thrive in the hearts of all who heard his story, and it is our plan to never let these lessons, his name, or his legacy wither away with time. Even despite his situation, Andrew asked very little of his family and friends. However, the one request he had for our family was to “pay forward” the kindness, generosity, and compassion that was shown to him and the entire Weishar Family. We hope that The Andrew Weishar Foundation fulfills his one wish and becomes a mechanism for doing just that; paying forward the incredible generosity in every way possible.
Visit Andrew’s CaringBridge, to view the details of his journey and the personal pages written by the Weishar Family.