When Andrew went to Heaven, Chris, Ali, and I started The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation to fight childhood cancer by funding research and helping families of kids with cancer pay their bills. We knew that to really touch people’s hearts, we were going to have to stick our necks out and tell our painful story. No sheet of statistics can match a firsthand story from a family.
Chris handled the website, Ali the social media, and giving talks fell mostly to me, although Chris and Ali do an amazing job at that as well. Today, I gave my 1,000th talk to a live audience (This excludes media interviews). I am so thankful for the schools, sports teams, community groups, companies, and others who have invited me to speak to their groups. I hope, in some small way, I have introduced Andrew to you, opened your eyes to childhood cancer, inspired you to Live Like Andrew and make a difference in the world. That’s the way my boy lived.
People have asked me if speaking engagements are “therapeutic” for me. Well, maybe for some people, but not for me. They’re very hard. I’m not looking for sympathy, I’m just being honest. Every time I tell Andrew’s story, it’s like a knife is being turned in my heart. Before every talk, I look at Andrew’s picture and I pray to God and Andrew and ask for guidance as to what I should say.
The world lost a very bright light when Andrew died. I hope that by sharing him with the world, we can try our best to make the world a little kinder. And, by sharing our story, perhaps we can make steps – and even lead efforts – toward a world without childhood cancer (or at least gentler treatments).
Today, I spoke at Tower Hill School in Wilmington, DE. They were one of the first schools to help The Andrew McDonough B+ Foundation. Eleven years ago today, Dec. 7th (how crazy is that?), I spoke at Tower Hill for the first time. That was my 15th talk; today was 1,000. Between this and the fact that Andrew’s travel soccer team used to practice at Tower Hill, I guess it was only fitting to speak there today. You can’t really see it in the picture, but in honor of my boy, I wore one of his shirts today for my talk. And, I ALWAYS wear his cross around my neck.
I love you Andrew!
Proud to be,
Ali & Andrew’s Dad