By: Jennifer Hoffman
Sunday June 16th 2019 wasn’t just a regular Sunday for Drew Stranix. 24 hours prior he and his wife Maureen had their gender reveal party, as the couple is expecting their first child this December.
The new dad woke up in pure bliss from the day before, over the moon excited to meet his little girl in six short months. Unbeknownst to him, his entire world would change in the blink of an eye.
“I was taking a shower and had bruises on my feet, but I hadn’t done anything to get bruises. I never bruised very easily. Then I started to get these red dots on my arms and legs.” stated Drew.
As the day went on, he continued to feel worse, and just knew something wasn’t right.
Drew and his wife Maureen got in the car and headed to urgent care, where the doctors told him it’s just poison ivy.
Drew’s gut feeling told him otherwise so he went for a second opinion at his primary doctor. From there they did multiple tests and did blood work. A few hours later the phone rang, Drew’s gut feeling was right.
It wasn’t poison ivy, it was leukemia.
Drew’s platelet count was under 10,000.
The Ridley couple immediately went to the emergency room and it was in that moment that Drew’s battle with cancer began.
Stranix is no stranger to the HEADstrong Foundation. Being a Ridley guy he has been familiar with the organization since the beginning, but his ties are deeper than that. Drew went to Ridley High School with Nick and Michael and played lacrosse with them.
“Nick was always someone we looked up to. The lax community at that time was as much smaller community than it is today, “ said Drew.
Michael Colleluori and Drew are friends on Facebook and that’s how Michael learned of Drew’s cancer diagnosis. Michael reached out to him and let him know that HEADstrong is here to help any way possible.
“I remember when HEADstrong first started, they took something so small. Just seeing where the organization is now it’s awesome that this is what they’v done with it.” said Drew.
To make matters worse, his 12 week pregnant wife was laid off from her job, so on top of dealing with a cancer diagnosis, expecting their first child, they were now in quite a financial situation with little to no income coming in.
Michael and HEADstrong knew just how to help alleviate their situation.
At the University City Classic at Penn on October 12, HEADstrong presented Drew and his family a check for financial assistance. It was a life saver for Drew and Maureen. The couple should be focused on decorating the nursery and stocking up on diapers, instead they are in and out Penn for rounds of treatment.
“The money has gone along way making sure we are able to pay our bills when the baby comes.” said Drew.
Drew is at the halfway point of his treatment at Penn. In total he will have 150 rounds of chemotherapy over the course of 8 months. If all goes as planned he expects to be finished by Valentine’s Day.
Stranix’s form of leukemia is APL which is considered one of the most curable subtypes of leukemia in adults with a 90% complete remission rate.“I have a lower risk rate as far as health, my treatment is an everyday thing. Much more manageable. It’s 4 weeks on, 4 weeks off.” said Drew.
Drew won’t let a cancer diagnosis define him or get him down, he stays focused on the future because it brings him one day closer to meeting his daughter.
The new dad is most excited about becoming a dad.“Your whole life you’re focused on what you’re doing but once you have a kid your life becomes a second thought. Your kid is the second part of you. Looking forward to a new start.” remarked Drew.
Violet Grace is due on December 28th so even if she comes a few days early or a few days late Drew and Maureen will end 2019 off on a good note and look forward to their new start in 2020.