Friends, family remember Andrew Weishar with first Weish Fest - Dallas News | myFOXdfw.com

Friends, family remember Andrew Weishar with inaugural Weish Fest

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CHICAGO (FOX 32 News) -

There are many words to describe Andrew Weishar. But over and over again, you will hear the same ones: "He is the nicest kid I have ever known."

He died of colon cancer in his early 20s. But today, his family is carrying on his legacy.

Born the first son to Don and Jean, and a big brother to Danny and Nick, Andrew Weishar was a leader among his peers – a role model to say the least.

At Brother Rice High School, Andrew played sports and excelled at his studies. He went on to Illinois Wesleyan to play college football. Life was not just good for this young man, it was great!

His parents were so proud. But then something started to happen. Andrew started to lose weight.

His mother and father didn't think much of it at that time, but would soon hear heartbreaking news.

"My husband and I immediately said, ‘You're lifting weights, you're changing your whole metabolism,'" she told FOX 32. "We'll wait a week and see what happens."

Along with the weight loss Andrew started to feel poorly all around. After rounds of tests, then 19-year-old Andrew was diagnosed with colo-rectal cancer.

He and his family had a hard time accepting the diagnosis at first. How could that be? A seemingly healthy young man wouldn't get colon cancer…

"It was devastating," Jean said. "Actually, my husband almost passed out."

After the initial shock, it was time to formulate a plan. It was time to fight - and boy did Andrew fight.

With his dog Charlie as his constant companion, Andrew dropped out of school and began chemotherapy and radiation treatment. Later, he went to the Mayo Clinic for major surgery.

For short while, it appeared that Andrew had beaten the cancer.

"He was wonderful," his mother said. "He was just floating around, you know. He was just enjoying his friends and family."

But then nearly one year after the surgery, the cancer reappeared. For several subsequent months, Andrew kept fighting that disease. It took its toll.

Hospitalized and broken down, his brother remembers the day the nurse came in with an offer to send him home with hospice care. Andrew would have none of that.

"At this point Andrew was broken down. He could barely speak. His face had withered awa. He struggled to smile," Dan said. "But at that moment he looked up, looked the nurse in the eye and said, ‘I'm not done fighting.'"

Several days later, Andrew made his peace with his lot in this life. But he had a request for his family: When he's gone, they have to help others who helped him.

"Before he passed, he pulled us aside – my family and I – and he wanted to make sure that we paid forward the kindness and generosity that he received," his brother said. "We were surrounded by the love and support of thousands of people."

On Sunday, Andrew's family will do just that. They're having what's called "Weish Fest." There will be music, entertainment and good times for a good cause. They'll be raising money to help other families with medical needs.

His family is going to pay it forward with "Weish Fest," and announce at the first beneficiary of the Andrew Weishar Foundation.

"We're very excited to make the announcement at Weish Fest," Dan said.

The Weishar family says that Andrew's time with them could not be a better blueprint of how to live a life of faith courage and strength, knowing that every day - every day - is a gift, either side or on that side, of that rainbow.

Join the Weishar family at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood this Sunday for Weish Fest. It's only $20 to get you in the door. Gates open at 2 p.m.

For more information, visit the Andrew Weishar Foundation's website.

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