Drew in one of his favorite places: "The Big House" at the University of Mighigan
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 patio planters.
Drew ultimately grew into an amazing young man.
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 as non-specific sports injuries and/or growth spurts. We sought answers for more than a year and a half from pediatricians, orthopedics, and physical therapists. His symptoms persisted so we sought the help of both a holistic orthopedic doctor and even an acupuncturist. Doctors even told us just before he was ultimately diagnosed, that it was "emotional".
When our family relocated to Charlotte, NC the following year without a diagnosis we planned ahead to seek out other medical experts.
Drew during his sophomore season, returning his first touch of the year for a Cougars touchdown just months before diagnosis.
Drew with his older brothers, Nick (left) and Matt (center).
We requested a full scale MRI but were met with resistance. Once again we were told Drew was most likely experiencing a sports injury while going through a rapid growth period. Pediatric cancer is rare and was not on any of our doctors radars.
Even though Drew was in pain, he was determined to enjoy his life and continued playing football for his new high school and had an outstanding season his sophomore year.
An MRI was not done until early December despite repeated requests for an earlier date. Ultimately the diagnosis was metastatic Ewing sarcoma. Our family was devastated but Drew was actually relieved the doctors "found something".
After a 16-month-long valiant 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 aim to raise awareness of this often misdiagnosed pediatric cancer. We will seek out and work with other foundations through clinical trials to help strengthen research opportunities specifically targeting Ewings sarcoma.
Drew told us he didn't research his diagnosis until he knew he had exhausted all treatment options. He was heartbroken and frustrated to learn the lack of progress over the last 2 decades in researching and treating this cancer. We hope to help change this. We believe we can make a difference on his behalf, as he wished.
By improving treatment options we hope to increase the survival rate of the approximate 200 pediatric patients that are diagnosed each year with Ewings just in the United States.