Against the Odds – Andy D

In 2012, when Andy D. was learning about cancer in his Practical Nursing Program, it dawned upon him: he had cancer.

All Sprott Shaw alumni have unique stories to tell, but Andy’s is one of incredible strength, perseverance, and selflessness. “We were discussing cancer in class,” he recalls, “I decided that I had some of the symptoms. […] Just at the end of the school semester, before our practicums, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 colon cancer.”

Almost anyone would have put down the textbooks at that point, but Andy was an exceptional man. “With a lot of guidance and help from the teachers, I decided to go ahead with the program, and managed to make it to graduation.”

Not only did Andy graduate, but he also did so as a class valedictorian, and completed his practicum and practical training while undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments. “It was a hard process,” he says lightly. Rather than feeling sorry for himself, Andy was sorry that his former classmates were already working while he was still working on his own recovery.

As a mature student (though he doesn’t look his 50+ years) and cancer survivor, Andy knows full well the value of time. “I didn’t want to wait forever,” he says. So it was no surprise when he returned to Sprott Shaw in Spring, 2013, for refresher courses. More than sharpening and upgrading his skills and knowledge, the refresher restored something important: his confidence.

“I finally had the confidence to apply for work; I had two interviews in one day and, before the interviews ended, was offered two jobs. I started yesterday,” Andy smiles. In that smile is the satisfaction of not only overcoming cancer and chemotherapy but of never failing to care for others as he was failing in health.

Andy is now cancer-free and working as a Licensed Practical Nurse – just in time for Spring. We wish him all the best with his health, career, and journey in life.

Are you or someone you know a Sprott Shaw alum with a story to share?

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