Andrew was born in December 2012 with a congenital heart defect called Aortic Stenosis. He required immediate intervention and when he was just two days old, underwent his first heart catheterization procedure at the Children’s Hospital in Minneapolis. Over the next 6.5 years, he would require a total of 5 heart catheterizations and 3 open heart surgeries. On July 9th, 2019, Andrew passed away as a result of complications from his heart defect coupled with a new defect that took us all by surprise. In his short 6.5 years, Andrew showed us what bravery is. He never allowed his situation to stop him from enjoying life.
Andrew loved Daniel Tiger, Paw Patrol, Pokemon, playing video games, building legos, and more recently, Indiana Jones. He loved playing with his two big brothers. Any time he was in the hospital, he would always brighten up any time they came to visit. He enjoyed playing sports like football and baseball. In spite of his heart condition, he was able to have a fairly normal life that included being a part of a Tball team. Inspired by his brothers, Andrew became a huge Harry Potter fan. He was granted a wish from Make a Wish Minnesota just before his final hospitalization to go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter and receive a wand from Olivanders. Our family was given the amazing gift of wonderful memories with Andrew for which we are forever grateful. We miss Andrew tremendously, but we hope that his memory can live on through the gifts that Andrew’s Bravery Boxes can provide.
While in the hospital, we found it increasingly difficult to keep Andrew’s spirits up. He developed fears about what you and I might think of as simple. Removing tape and bandages, IV’s, or lead patches began to take over an hour because he was so afraid of the pain that came with it. Even having his IV flushed was something he dreaded. During his final hospitalization, we stocked up on small toys that we knew he loved and put them in a brown paper bag. We called it the Bravery Bag. Each time Andrew faced his fear and showed how brave he was, we let him pick an item. After a few days, he was asking the nurses to flush his IV and removing tape and leads from his skin like a champ. The Bravery Bag made life in the hospital just a little more bearable. We want to be able to provide the same tools for other parents and children who may be in the same situation.
Andrew’s Bravery Box hopes to provide boxes of toys that can be brought into the hospital room by the nursing staff to reward children for their bravery. We want to offer a wide variety of small toys for all ages that can serve as a resource for parents who just want to make the hospital stay a little better. We want to thank you for your interest in Andrew’s Bravery Box. If you have further questions or would like to know more, please don’t hesitate to reach out! For more information about our organization, visit us at www.AndrewsBraveryBox.org