Melanoma Warrior Andy Caress is Now a Melanoma Angel
Dear Family and Friends,
Andy lost his battle with melanoma on Wednesday, August 4, 2010. Andy’s mom and brother were with him when he passed from this life to the next. It was very peaceful, though all too quick. Just the week before, a new MRI showed only minor progression of bleeding issues. However, Andy became increasingly disoriented and went into hospice care on Saturday. He spoke his last words to his family that morning and then fell into a deep sleep. On Wednesday morning, holding his mothers hand, Andy’s body slowly shut down and he left us.
Andy’s battle with melanoma began almost two years ago. Every step of the way, Andy chose to fight the disease and he never gave up hope of beating it. His battle was a daily struggle, and toward the end, included tremendous pain throughout his body. But he always kept going with the love and support of his family and friends, and by his desire to make a difference in the prevention and treatment of melanoma. Andy’s will to fight was quickened every time he heard someone was using sunscreen in response to his story, or went to the doctor to get checked, or made a donation to help with the treatment and research of melanoma. Knowing that he was making that difference kept him fighting even harder.
Andy was also encouraged to keep fighting by the support he found on his “wall” and his Facebook page. He checked both daily. Sometimes he had the energy to respond. Sometimes he didn’t. But the energy he gained from reading that support and love was evident and made a real difference to him. Those of us who were with him as he checked those sites know that he was overwhelmed and deeply touched by the love that came through those posts.
Andy’s service in Ohio was extraordinary. So many people came and expressed their love for Andy and support for his family. Among the friends who attended and spoke, Andy’s tennis coach from Coastal Carolina University read a letter from Andy that he’s used to inspire his team. Andy’s letter described his battle and his determination to win.
The love and support Andy’s family has received during his battle, but especially during the following several weeks, made all the difference to them as they move forward in celebrating his life. Andy’s dream of bringing awareness to others of the dangers of melanoma will continue to live on with this organization, the Andy Caress Melanoma Foundation.