8-year-old Andrew is diagnosed with Glioma, a brain tumor, and B-Cell Lymphoma and has undergone many different treatments and surgeries during his battle. Andrew’s story was introduced to the Foundation by his social worker at Akron Children’s Hospital.

Andrew has always aspired to become a United States Marine and his dreams came true when he was given the opportunity to meet with local Marines and was bestowed with the title of an Honorary Marine. He had always wished to go on a helicopter ride and spend quality time with his mom, dad, and five siblings. The CarsonStrong Foundation generously gifted Andrew and his family a weekend trip to the Cuyahoga Valley National Park, where they had a great time exploring and indulging in various activities including a train ride through the park. They were also supposed to enjoy a helicopter tour of Downtown Cleveland, which was Andrew’s biggest source of excitement. However, due to unforeseen maintenance issues, the helicopter ride had to be cancelled, and Andrew had to go back home without experiencing the one thing he was looking forward to the most.

The CarsonStrong team worked tirelessly to put a smile on Andrew’s face. They arranged for a special tour where they were introduced to Lieutenant Colonel John Whitney of the Ohio Army National Guard, based in Canton, Ohio. In December, Andrew and his family were given a once-in-a-lifetime experience, where they were able to board different military aircraft, including the Chinook, black hawk, and more. Andrew was dressed up in military gear and taken on a helicopter for a 40-minute tour of the Great Akron Area, including Akron Children’s Hospital, where he receives treatment. The pilots even gave Andrew a challenge coin, which holds a deep meaning in the military and first responder community as a symbol of respect and admiration. After the visit, CarsonStrong asked Andrew if he wanted his own challenge coin. Andrew was thrilled and spent several days working out what he wanted on his coin. Once he had designed it, CarsonStrong worked with a challenge coin maker to have them made. Carson’s parents, John and Debbie Higgins, delivered the coins to him along with a message from Kyle Carpenter, a retired Marine who received the United States’ highest military honor in 2010.

Andrew’s positive outlook on life, his fight against cancer, and his love for his family are truly commendable. He is a brave young man who doesn’t mind battling cancer because it means his siblings won’t have to. This is a sentiment that echoes Carson’s own words during his battle with cancer.