Andrea has spent years worrying about her health. As a teenager, she was not only diagnosed with a brain tumor, but also a type of cancer that her doctors had never seen before. She spent months in the hospital while her doctors tried different procedures and medications.
“As if a rare brain tumor wasn’t bad enough,” Andrea said, “there was nothing in the records to tell what the treatment for this type of cancer should be.”
During this time, Andrea turned to what she loved – tennis. Although she couldn’t get out to play on her own, she was able to watch the sport on TV from her hospital bed. She especially loved when her favorite player, Andre Agassi, would appear on the screen. Andrea was thrilled to watch him win the 1992 Wimbledon tournament and even adapted his slogan, “Image is everything” to her own mantra – “Attitude is everything.”
When Andrea discovered she would receive a wish from Make-A-Wish Minnesota, there was no question in her mind what it would be. She wanted to meet Andre.
The next year, Andrea’s wish came true. She packed her bags and headed to Charlotte, NC, where Andre would be playing in the Davis Cup.
She will never forget the anticipation she felt as she waited to meet the tennis star. Andrea was beaming as the head of security called her name and said “Andre is waiting to meet you.” Her wish was a reality – Andre signed autographs, took pictures, answered all of Andrea’s questions and then gifted her with the tennis racket he used to win that day’s match.
Before she left, Andrea exchanged contact information with a member of Andre’s team so they could keep in touch. That year, Andrea began sending holiday cards with well wishes and updates on her treatments. In 1997, her holiday card announced she was celebrating five years of being cancer free. Andre celebrated with her by sending a heartfelt note and congratulatory gift.
Since then, Andrea has become a volunteer with Make-A-Wish Minnesota and shares her story whenever possible.
“This experience has taught me how important it can be to focus on something else than being sick,” Andrea said. “Wishes give kids and their families the chance to look forward to something positive. I couldn’t be more proud to call myself a ‘wish kid.’ ”