It was toward the end of 2007 when Isaac Andrew Adjei first felt the pain in his left knee. He loved to play basketball and also ran track and field. Because Andrew was a very active child, his father assumed this was a sports injury, a possible stress fracture. They were, unfortunately, wrong.
When the pain in his knee was too much for Andrew to bear, he was not able to go to school; his mother and father took him to see the doctor. X-rays and blood checks were done, but with no results. They were told of the possibility of cancer; however, the doctor also felt there was a good chance it was a stress fracture. Andrew was placed on crutches for one month. Two weeks went by and the pain was still unbearable. On Feb. 11, 2008, he went in for a MRI (magnetic resonance imaging).
On Feb. 14, 2008 at 7:30 a.m., Andrew’s family was notified of the news. He was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a bone cancer which is commonly found in the bones around the knee. Andrew was, surprisingly, not scared when he was first diagnosed. “I was not scared until the first time I went to the hospital. At first, I was really only worried about graduating on time.”
For the next year, Andrew went through a total of 31 weeks of chemotherapy. He also endured an eight-hour surgery to remove a tumor, as well as his left knee, part of his tibia and most of his fibula. He has since been through strenuous physical therapy.
To hear, at the age of 16, that you will not play basketball or run again was tough for Andrew to digest. “Chemo was the worst part; it hindered me from doing what I wanted to do.” After the surgery, Andrew was unable to walk for seven months.
Andrew’s determination to succeed in school and his strength to persevere was recently rewarded. He was recently named the first place recipient of the “National Annual Achievement Award” from Club Z! Tutoring Services. Maggie Schilling, the area director for Club Z!, said, “Andrew’s strength and perseverance to maintain nearly perfect grades and continue his education, through what will be one of the toughest times of his life, is the reason he was named the first place recipient of the Annual Achievement Award.”
Ilesha Seyoum, Andrew’s Integrated Chemistry and Physics teacher, nominated Andrew for this award based on his supportive nature and encouragement to others even through his most difficult times. Seyoum says, “There were times when Andrew felt openly sad about his health; the loss of hair, changes in skin color, and extreme difficulty in learning to walk again with his prosthesis.”
The Annual Achievement is given once in the fall and again in the spring. The first place winner receives $2,000 from Club Z! for higher education. Andrew will be able to use his award to pay for room and board, books, supplies and/or tuition.
Andrew will be attending John Carroll University in the fall. He will be majoring in accounting and Japanese. Andrew’s goal is to graduate from John Carroll University, continue an additional two years of school, obtain a law degree, and someday start his own law firm.Read more