In May of 2016, Andrew Severin was a rising sophomore at Pennsylvania State University. Like most 19-year-olds, he was looking forward to spending a summer at home with his friends and family. He would work his landscape job for the few months at home and return to school in the fall– a solid plan for any college student.
But when Andrew got a call from a friend offering a small fee to model a new ultrasound machine at his friend’s mom’s company, Andrew jumped at the opportunity. “I was in college, so I was pretty broke,” joked Andrew.
It turns out this call could have saved his life.
“When I finished modeling for the ultrasound machine, I began to leave. It was then that they called me back in. They saw a large mass in my neck and told me I needed to get it looked at for precautionary measures, so I saw my primary care doctor the very next day.”
His primary care doctor urged him to see a specialist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.
“They called me into the exam room, and I just had a feeling going into it that it was probably cancer. I kept thinking to myself ‘I think I have it, and I’m mentally prepared to hear it.’
Andrew’s intuition was confirmed. He was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in May of 2016 and immediately began treatment at Dana-Farber’s Jimmy Fund Clinic.
“When you hear the word ‘cancer,’ especially in relation to your own health, it’s scary. But I never thought I wasn’t going to be OK. I kept the best mind set about it. I was at the best place in the world to be treated.”
After several rounds of chemotherapy, Andrew credits the nurses, his friends, his family, and his girlfriend for seeing him through.
“It’s not easy to go through chemotherapy treatment, but being at Dana-Farber is so unique. The experience I had there became so uplifting. I had amazing connections with my nurses, and they became good friends that I could really trust. Their remarkable connection with each patient is one of the many reasons why I could get through the long hospital stays, the time away from my family, and the time I missed from school.”
Thanks to Dana-Farber and the Jimmy Fund, Andrew has been cancer-free since August 28, 2016 and is now working towards graduation and being healthy. Interested in a communications career, Andrew was asked to share his story on-air at the WEEI/NESN Jimmy Fund Radio-Telethon presented by Arbella Insurance Foundation last year and participates in the Boston Marathon Jimmy Fund Walk with his family, raising nearly $20,000 in 2016.
Looking back, Andrew feels his cancer journey was just a small bump in the road, and throughout the entire experience he truly believes luck was on his side. “A lot of people ask me if I feel lucky. In a weird way, they’re right. I got totally lucky.”
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