Andrew Joseph Poet (Drew) was never your average child. Born on January 5th, 2002, the youngest of three boys, Drew was a ball of non-stop energy. Drew was always striving to keep up with his two older brothers and constantly pushing for more. His life was filled with family, friends, school, and sports.
Drew wanted to be involved in everything; the first to arrive and the last to leave any event. With Drew’s passion for life and every living creature, he spent as much time in nature as he did on any court or ball field. His childhood affection for frogs and toads are fondly remembered by family and friends, and now have a symbolic place on our porches and planters. Drew ultimately grew into an amazing young man.
Drew in one of his favorite places: The Big House.
Drew began experiencing low back pain in 8th grade, the year he turned 14. Because he was a year-round athlete, playing football, basketball, baseball and running track, his symptoms were misdiagnosed over and over again. We sought answers for over a year and a half in Michigan from his pediatrician and several other sports medicine and doctors of physical therapy. After several rounds of physical therapy, x-rays, and ultimately a misplaced MRI location, we sought the help of both a holistic orthopedic doctor and even an acupuncturist. Doctors told us they were sure it was a combination of growing pains, athletic injury, and more heartbreaking, "it was emotional". Our family relocated to Charlotte, North Carolina the summer of 2017 with no answers. We made sure we had his medical records and scans and lined up doctors to see Drew when we arrived in July. The misdiagnoses continued 5 more months, even after more physical therapy, lab work, another misplaced x-ray, and 9 trips to the ER between July and November.
Drew with his older brothers, Nick (far left) and Matt (center).
Drew during his sophomore season, returning his first touch of the year for a Cougars touchdown just months before diagnosis.
We insisted while getting resistance, for a larger scale MRI with contrast, or any other more detailed scan than what was previously done. Drew’s symptoms slowly grew worse as the months wore on all while attending school and playing football in his sophomore year. Scans were not done until December 2017, even though we sought an earlier appointment. Only hours after his head-to-toe MRI, we received the devastating call to return immediately. Drew was diagnosed with metastatic Ewing sarcoma.
After a 16-month-long and painful battle, Drew passed away on April 20, 2019. We miss our son more than words can express, but he has an enormous circle of family and friends who want to honor his memory and leave a lasting legacy.
Drew asked us to do two things:
1. “Don’t be sad. Celebrate my life and keep my memory alive.”
2. “Do whatever you can to help find better treatment options that ultimately cure this disease.”
These are the reasons we have created the Drew Poet Foundation. We plan to raise awareness of this often misdiagnosed disease as well as raise funds to help bring better treatment options that ultimately lead to a cure for this rare pediatric cancer. We are working through Levine Children’s Hospital, where Drew was treated in Charlotte, North Carolina. With their help we hope to identify research opportunities and clinical trials specifically targeting Ewing sarcoma and may partner with other foundations to combine our efforts to reach further.
Please join the Poet family and the Drew Poet Foundation in our efforts and fundraising events so we might make a difference for the future 200-300 pediatric patients that will be diagnosed with this terrible disease each year.
Do It For Drew. #DIFD