Astro post PCT — 10 months later

Dear Family, Friends and Followers,

It’s been a long time!

Some of you that followed Andy’s (Astro’s) journey on the Pacific Crest Trail I know quite well, you are my family; others are good friends that live in our community in Laguna Beach, California.  Others of you are complete strangers, curious about the trail and Andy’s journey.

Andy has asked me (mom — Betsy) to pick the blog back up — to write about a new trail that we are blazing right now.  I’m going to do my best to tell you things in his words, but I know that my thoughts and feelings will come through because that’s the nature of how it goes.

You may remember back in October when Andy got off the trail in Washington, his leg was giving him some trouble.  It was starting to give way and he was also experiencing some pain in his hip and low back.  The truth is Andy has been experiencing pain in his hip and low back for three and half years now, because he was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma over five and a half years ago.

When he got off that trial in Snow Pass, Washington after being on the trail for 152 days, he had hiked 2,302 miles.  He got a hitch from the trail and walked into a little hospital in Yakima Valley.  They they ran their usual battery of tests to figure out what the pain was. In the back of his mind he knew, I knew, all those close to him knew . . . what they were going to find.  And they found it — the Big C — still lurking in tumor fashion along his spine, pressing on nerves and causing the increasing pain in his body, making it difficult for him to hike 20 -25 miles a day.  The day we got that news, I don’t think I ever stopped crying, I boarded the next flight out and drove straight from Seattle to Yakima, arriving at 1:30 am.

I hadn’t seen him for about a month.  When I got to the hospital room I found a very handsome, happy young man, and visually healthy — my son Astro who had been hiking the pacific crest trail.  I was there to support him in what lie ahead, would he be able to finish the trail, did he want to?  And of course he could and he did.

Fast forward for now to today.

The ‘miracle drug’ didn’t work.  Andy had an allergic reaction each time he had an infusion.  Now his body is beginning to slowly shut down, the lymphoma is growing and beginning to take over, compromising his internal organs.  He is on heavy pain medication to participate in life.  Andy is beginning to die.

He wants to let you know what this is like for him.  This new journey.  A journey that we are all going to eventually take.  Because we all die.

Personal Note:  I want to thank all of you whom have called, emailed, texted, sent cards and notes, stopped by, brought over food.  My heart is filled with gratitude for your care and kindness towards our family right now.  Because of all that we have going on, we simply can’t respond to each and every call, text, etc. personally. But my hope is that this doesn’t deter you from keeping in touch, because your support has buoyed us along and made us feel loved.  I’m going to use this blog to try and keep you updated as things progress.  If it is too much for you to endure the pain and uncertainty of the journey ahead — a 24-year-old man who is about to loose his life — please feel free to ‘un-follow’.

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55 Responses to Astro post PCT — 10 months later

  1. Janet says:

    I began following Andy’s PCT journey close to his completion and was awed by his inner strength. I don’t know him, but my heart and prayers go out to him, to you Betsy and your family. Thank you for allowing us to follow along on this new, difficult journey.

  2. Avril Armstrong says:

    Hello Beth, Thank you for the blog. I didn’t know and I just thought he was with you in Bali. I know that it may be not the right time but is it possible to visit him? Is he able to take phone calls? I understand if its not. Also let me know if there is anything I can do. Please send him my love.

    Avril

  3. Robert Wainblat says:

    Betsy, though we only met briefly at the end of summer ’06, I could tell how much you love your son and the great relationship you two share. Whenever I remember the time I spent in summer camp in Ojai, I remember Andy and what a personable and intelligent guy he is. I am incredibly saddened to hear the news, as I have followed Andy’s journey for a while now, but I know that you will cherish the time you have left together, like any mother would with her son.

    Please give Andy a big hug from me!

    Robert W.

  4. Ricardo says:

    When I started following your blog, It was because, being a trekker myself, I found that a PCT through hike was a story worth listening. No matter who was telling it. Then I found out about Andy’s history and medical condition, and an already inspiring story became something else, something more.
    I remember waiting for every update, and reading it as soon as that email hit my inbox.
    I thank you Andy, for letting me tag along and live vicariously. Your adventures reminded me why I enjoy trekking.

    Know that there is someone wishing you the best from Colombia (Yup, the tale of your adventures has followers from some far away places, the story is that good).
    I hope some day I have a story that is nearly as deserving of being told as yours is.

    R.

  5. mjirving says:

    Thank you so much for the update! I’ve kept this blog in my feed hoping that I’d eventually get an update…yet fearing for the worst. Andy’s journey has been so inspiring and will continue to be so. Prayers for Andy and your family. I wish him comfort and peace.

    -GoalTech

  6. Lori says:

    I will keep you all in my prayers. ❤❤

  7. Bullfrog says:

    That was a very hard post to write. Thank you so much for being able to share this news. The entire PCT community is in awe of Andy/Astro–and we still are. He has my heartfelt thoughts and prayers as he takes this final pilgrimage.

  8. Mark Christy says:

    Andy is an amazing young man, surrounded by love and an incredible family. When I met him about 15 years ago, I recognized he had something special about him. He still does. Thank you for the update and just know that we are with Andy and with you, Michael and Alex. Neil Young promised that “It’s better to burn out, than to fade away” and Andy’s candle burns as brightly and passionately as any I’ve ever seen.

  9. Mary McDonald says:

    Betsy & Andy,
    When I saw your email come through, I had a feeling what it might say. I avoided reading it for a while, really afraid to take it in. Then I found a quiet place to open it and read it. It is hard to know what to say, so forgive me if this comes out wrong. It’s difficult to grasp that we are all here temporarily, but we are. You and your family are in my loving thoughts as you confront this reality that we will all face one day. Your grace is teaching us all so much.
    Love, Mary

  10. Nancy Deline says:

    You are both so brave to share this with all of us. Thank you. It is especially generous that Andy wants to share what it is like for him. I want to know. Love, Nancy

  11. Dambara says:

    Betsy, Andy’s definitely in the heavenly consciousness, ’cause yesterday out of nowhere I had a VERY strong feeling about wanting to know what’s happening with him & y’all after all this time. So THANK YOU for letting us know! Just as our love & inspiration followed him & you all through the PCT, it continues to follow him on the next big journey. Courage & success & joyful enthusiasm don’t stop just ’cause the body does. And how many, many people Andy has helped & inspired! Great, great love & blessings to him and you. – Dambara

  12. Linda barker says:

    Dear Andy, Betsy, Mi Havel, and Alex,

    I am not sure if you will remember me, but I was Andy and Alex’s fifth grade teacher. Andy, I was so sad to hear the news that was sent via your blog. While you are a grown man and have accomplished so much in your young life, it is the ” ten year old Andy ” that I have such fond memories of. I remember you as one of my most intelligent fifth grade students with a love of math and reading. As smart as you were in my class, you never bragged about your abilities, but rather you made yourself available to help your classmates that struggled. I remember the fine job you did performing in our little reader’s theater which was the story called, “The Jester that Lost his Jingle.” It was written by a wonderful young man named David Saltman while coping with Hodgkin’s disease. I saw pictures of you as a grown man, and when I looked at the photos of you, I still saw the kind and caring boy that you were when you were in my class. Andy, you and your family are in my thoughts and prayers as you struggle with your illness. I am proud of you for hiking the Pacific Crest Trail- what an accomplishment! If you feel like a visit from your former teacher, please let me know. I would love to drop by and visit you and your family. Sending love and healing thoughts to you and your family. Linda Barker

  13. Ann Quilter says:

    Dear Andy and Betsy,
    When I think of Costa Rica, always, my first thought is of you, our only bit of testosterone on our work team, sitting in a chair, big grin on your face, surrounded by attentive young females busily plucking and clucking your “unibrow”. I thought at the time: Wow. What a man (you were 16). To tolerate that (or were you just THAT much smarter than the rest of us?) I choose to believe SMART. How else to get the attention of a bunch of attractive young ladies at that age?
    Already your magnificent sense of adventure was showing, your willingness to share, to believe, to be brave and to have fun while doing it. Little did I, or any of us, know that the sense of who you were becoming was emerging on such a grand scale.
    Andy, your life and how you are living it will continue to impact us as we continue on our own journeys. We have been privileged to share bits and pieces with you along the way. Your grace under unfathomable pressure has real meaning, for in the end, you have shown us what it means to be: as Ginny Wheeler once said, “spiritual beings on an earthly journey.”
    Life hits us all in different ways. Each of us has our own struggles, despairs, joys. But your life, Andy, how you have chosen to live and die will be our inspiration and companion as we make our way through the labyrinth. Thank you for this amazing, life affirming gift.
    And know you are loved.
    Ann Quilter, from Austria

  14. Margaret Mulligan says:

    Just know you are beloved and your bravery is an inspiration. You have many friends here at Ananda Village, and all over the world. Thank you for being a friend, a true friend.

  15. Darcy says:

    So sorry to hear this news. I am in Washington and have followed Andy’s blog since hearing his inspirational story on the news. Prayers for comfort and healing during this difficult time.

  16. Debbie Shelton says:

    My prayers are with you all. I am so sorry for the pain you all must be experiencing, I wish God’s speed to all of you…Astro: my prayers are with you, now & forever! You have touched my heart! Thank you for your tremendous display of courage… a special place lies
    ahead for you! I hope to meet you some day…until then, GOD BLESS YOU! love, Debbie from Yakima

  17. Adrienne Mulqueen says:

    Dear Astro

    Here in New Zealand we would say..” Bugger” … young and old, proper and improper. It’s not quite a year ago that I was lucky enough to meet you fleetingly, in Oregon. Well done for living life to the full these last few months…. Lots more memories….to be shared…

    You have been in my thoughts when ever the topic of the PCT comes up, and that is resonably often.
    I’m so sorry that the autumn of your life has come upon you so soon.

    Have you ever read any of Rabindranath Tagore’s writing? On this subject of life and Death, in a collection called ‘Stray Birds’, he has mused

    ” Death belongs to life as birth does.
    The walk is in the raising of the foot as in the laying of it down”.

    Keep walking, Astro, and we are all walking with you.

    Much love and all the best wishes that can be sent to you and your family

    Adrienne

    Supermom

  18. Andy’s friends at Ananda remain praying for him and continue to love him for the great soul he is. Prayers for your family as well. Aum Aum Aum

  19. Candace Hurley says:

    I am looking at a photo of Andy at about age 7. Braeden could choose just one friend to take to Disneyland for his birthday and it was no surprise to me he chose Andy. It’s easy to say that there is such a thing as a truly good soul but in the case of Andy it is true. In the photo my sons and Andy are on the log ride and Andy is smiling with missing teeth and those beautiful eyes full of sweetness and promise. He just was everyone’s favorite child. It’s also no surprise that all through his life he deeply touched so many people and what better purpose could any life have? Our love is with you Andy and with your wonderful family. Your sweetness and lovely face will live on with all of us until we meet again. Bon voyage beautiful boy.
    Candace Hurley

  20. Jane says:

    Dear Andy, To borrow a famous quote ” People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their inner beauty is revealed, only if there is a light from within.” Andy, your inner light is an inspiration to us all. Love, Gary and Jane

    Sent from my iPad

  21. Tony Brien says:

    Betsy/Andy,

    Andy has lived more that most of us will ever do. I am sad because i had forgotten about this blog and the journey and the reason and been consumed in the minutae of everday existence.

    Reading this post has brought me to tears again, but also inspird me to stop wasting my life and do something. Andy you are and will always be an inspiration please keep us informed of his final journey and i hope that it is as peaceful as possible.

    tony

  22. carestrom says:

    I can’t imagine how difficult that was to write. Somehow, when we write, our truths become so much more real. I so appreciate you sharing Andy’s journeys with us, it won’t be easy for any of us, but it is a story of courage, kindness and compassion that ought to be shared. So with a full heart, I thank you and Andy, Michael and Alex for all the courage that you need to muster for Andy’s final trek. You are all in my heart as you travel the bumpy road ahead. Much love, the Strombotne’s

  23. RJM says:

    Andy & Mom – I don’t know you, but I am a sometimes-PCT Hiker and your story, like so many of the others have said, has such impact – I work with university students, and when I start to hear “whining” – I will occasionally tell them your story, and what you have accomplished even with these cruel challenges. I have your picture on my bulletin board – the one where you have your arms raised wide in victory and happiness at the Canada border, and I smile every time I glance that way ! I consider it an honor to have “known” you and wish you and your family peace and love. RJM

  24. Kristen says:

    Hi Andy and Betsy,
    I’m a friend from Ananda. Andy and I met working together at Master’s Market and he shared some of his story with me. Thank you for the opportunity to continue following his story here. While I haven’t seen Andy in a year and a half or so, the impact of his friendship and his life go on. We love Andy. You are all in my thoughts and I’m sending much love as the story continues.
    Love, Kristen

  25. Bob F. says:

    Andy,

    A high pass stands before you, and I pray for you all the strength and courage needed to climb it well. Know that you are not alone, but climb surrounded and encouraged by those you have touched and loved.

    A great zero day approaches, where all burdens are laid down before a light of love and replaced with trail magic beyond compare.

    Be not afraid. All is as it should be.

    Love awaits!

    Robert

  26. Sharon Hardy says:

    Andy, Alex, Betsy and Michael:

    Your strength, courage and honesty are unique in our modern world where death is not discussed openly. Thank you for your brave sharing. We love all of you very much and are praying that you may find a little peace in this moment. Love, Sharon and Mike

  27. Paula Ansara-Wilhelm says:

    Andy, Betsy, Michael and Alex,
    Thank you for your honesty and bravery in dealing with this. I’ve been watching and praying that you would all have more time on earth with us. I admire your courage and grace while dealing with life…and death. I love you all and would like to help in any way I can.
    Love,
    Paula

  28. Brian Wisely says:

    Andy,
    In performing the small part that I contributed to helping you prepare to be strong for your PCT adventure, I witnessed first hand just how STRONG you are. No other evidence was needed to convince me of your strength. I witnessed it first hand in the gym. It was clear to me back then that you would achieve your goal of completing the PCT. I admire you for your achievement. I also know you will be STRONG for this next leg of your journey. You have my respect and my compassion.
    Brian Wisely

  29. mhans@q.com says:

    I thank you so much for your thoughtful letter … and my heart is feeling love and prayers (and aching) for this wonderful young man and his beautiful mother. All I can offer is my most sincere prayers, in hope that I can send a moment of peace to both of you . Yes, this is a journey WE WILL ALL MAKE , and maybe Andy can show us the way, by his example and  his illuminated path .  The most I can hope for both of you is that you are  graced with  “a peace that passeth all understanding.”  We are all with you courageous Andy and wonderful mother Betsy. Dorothy G. (Yakima)

  30. mwilkosz says:

    Andy, Thank you for your generosity in sharing your journey. It is our fervent hope that it will be as peaceful as possible for you.
    Stan and Michele

  31. I will not ‘un-follow’. I will read and hope and pray.

    I wish he and I were still up in the Goatrocks of Washington or in the cabin at Manning Park. Good times.

  32. ryan "just oregon" summers says:

    Astro and I hiked together for a good part of Oregon and he was the most positive person I had met yet. One day he left Odell lake, went off to find water, spent all day being lost and arrived back at elk lake dehydrated and tired, but didn’t once gripe about his misadventure. he showed up in the middle of the night on my last night on trial before hitting the wa border where I ended, I was so excited to see him again before my trip ended and got a nice pic of our goodbye dude hug.

  33. martha says:

    Dear, dear Betsy, my heart aches at what you have to go through. Hopefully, this last journey that Andy takes will lead to rest, no pain, freedom of the body that hurt him so.
    My thoughts and prayers to out to you, Andy and all the rest of your family.
    Love and peace,
    Martha

  34. Jan Albin-Bullock says:

    I saw your story last year and celebrated when you finished the hike. I hiked this weekend in the Slate Peak area of Washington State. The trail is next door to the PCT. I think about you and your journey often and always when I hike. You continue to be an inspiration.

  35. Katie says:

    Andy and family,
    I only have met Andy and it was always wonderful seeing his shining face at the farmers market through the last year or so. He would buy bone broth from me and (thank you Lord) that I always had one left for Andy. I don’t know your son very well at all but it looks like he is a very special and strong young man that knows how to follow his passion. I am praying for you now and into the future and am so sorry that you have to go through what you’re experiencing. May The Lord bless you and family with His peace and comfort in these days, knowing that He loves you more than you can imagine despite all the sucky stuff that happens in this world. I would reach out to you but I don’t know how to contact your family, but of there’s any practical way I can help you guys with meals,food,errands, anything, please don’t hesitate to let me know. I’m on-call with whatever you need! :) healthycowboykitchen@gmail.com
    Warmly,
    Katie
    P.s. I had a dream last night that I was able to give Andy a big warm hug. What a great dream :)

  36. carol says:

    Andy and Betsy,
    I am happy to get your blog and hear whatever you are ready to share about this part of the journey. You are both very brave. I cannot imagine the pain that either of you endure. I appreciate your sharing. I hold you in my heart.
    Much love and peace to both of you.
    And a {{{Big Hug}}}
    Carol

  37. Changala, Susan says:

    Thank you so much for this update. I helped take care of Andy when he was here in Yakima. I have often wondered how he has been doing and what adventures he has had since he finished the Pacific Trail. I am so sorry to hear that this is the adventure he is currently on, however, I will be here every step of the way. You probably already know what an amazing son you have but I just really wanted your family to know, and Andy to know, that he is truly amazing. He has touched many lives, including my own. He is such an inspiration with his determination, clarity, kindness and overall positive outlook on life. I feel priviliged to have met him and your family. God Bless all of you. Give Andy big hugs from his friends here at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital. If there is anything any of you need we would be honored to help in any way.

    Sincerely,

    Susan Changala, RN, CRM.

    ________________________________

  38. Lisa Powers says:

    Dear Andy and Betsy,
    Ah Andy, how I wish I would have pulled you into Living Discipleship before you left on the trail, so you would have had that experience and we would have had more time with you in this lifetime. I know you’re not losing your life, but that this lifetime is coming to a close. The mystery of karma and completion will remain a mystery until we have omniscient awareness – when we come to the divine understanding of what our journeys have been about. Swamiji said many times that we can only deal with a very few lessons in each lifetime. This must mean we come into this life with a blue print and tool box of what we need for those lessons to happen. This includes a genetic code, a script of destiny, and the adventurous willingness to live out the roles we are given. You must have done your work quickly, and you are now finishing up the last few details. I know that every breath we are given to take can be meaningful and part of each lifetime’s perfect plan. Where the “truth of all that is” leads you next will surely be another grand adventure, and I believe that Truth will be revealed to you in a way that is deeply meaningful to you. I pray that it is full of bliss. You are already a shining star in the heaven of creation. When I think of God I think of what Hubble reflects back down to us. How could it be anything but glorious, beautiful, and divinely loving beyond ‘imagination of expectancy!’

    Betsy, You are a mother of courage and unfathomable love. You embody the Divine Mother of us all, who’s love is so deep and vast that it can endure everything mankind and destiny. I was diagnosed with a much easier cancer to deal with, back in ’98. The hardest thing for me was gathering the nerve to tell my mother about a diagnosis that hinted her only child of 42 years, might not survive her. Your love for each other is expressed so deeply in your mutual support and courage. May you both be blessed with a deep peace, and may the porthole between the worlds remain open to each other as long as you need them to be.

    In divine friendship and love,
    Lisa Powers

  39. Sajani says:

    Andy (and Betsy),
    It seems you have now embarked on another type of PCT: A Purposefully Conscious Transition. I salute your courage, your incredible spirit, and your open-heartedness in including all of us in this journey. Though it is ultimately something you must face on your own, please know that lots of prayers and love are with you. When I look at the night sky, I think of your brightness, and of how the stars connect us all.

    Peace and blessings,
    Sajani (from Ananda)

  40. Tami says:

    It is great to hear how andy’s adventure turned out. It more amazing how many lives he has touched along is journey, I only meant Andy one time briefly while he was here in Yakima at our hospital. His story amazed and touched so many of us here. His story would truley be enjoyed on the LMN channel. God Bless. Tami Bigby unit secretary YVMH

  41. Brett Ritchey says:

    Tears were shed in learning this news. I hiked with Astro from central Oregon on and off to the border. We shared some of the most difficult days on trail, in the cold rain. Through this time together I came to see him as family. Night hiking into Timberline Lodge for the buffet the next morning, being slack packed by his Dad and spending time with them in Hood River, meeting his mother at Snoquamie Pass and being amazed at his decision to keep hiking, getting food catered at the Dinsmores, the cold, wet days hiking into Stehekin near hypothermic, and finally being reunited in Vancouver. These are memories I will treasure forever.

    Astro, you are a good man. Thank you for the time you spent with me- if only we could hike again. You will be with me on every pass I climb, and in the expansive view on the other side. Much love, my Brother.

    Walk well,
    Scrubrat.

  42. Robin Pierson says:

    Andy and family – you are in so many of our hearts right now, bringing out the best of us, opening us to the truth, opening our hearts, planting wise sign posts on a trail we all will travel. And those signs will remain standing, clear guides, helping us along. May you lay down your burdens, take off your pack and go lightly and freely down the trail, knowing that because of you we are better people. Your life has mattered. You did good! Thank you! Robin

  43. Wired says:

    Betsy & Andy,
    I have often though of u two over the past year and wondered how things were gong. I am on the CDT now and even had asked all the 2012 PCT classmates of Andy’s if they had heard anything. I type this from central Montana on a dirt road walk. I remember reading Andy’s inspiring journey last summer and it often comes to me as I look for inspiration and motivation. Thank you for sharing all the ups & downs with all of us. Andy, you’re in my thoughts and also my legs as I make the final push to Canada. Such an inspiration!

  44. Dearest Andy,

    I loved reading what your fifth grade teacher had to say… from her words I could see the light of your kindness and intelligence shining through, even then. And what is that Light? It is the soul… It comforts my heart to know that the Andy we all came to love was blessing others all along the way. That beautiful Andy will live on – perfected and expanded…. freed from bodily aches and pains and troubles. It does my heart good to know we will see you again…

    I saw Light around you that day this summer when you visited for a treatment… I was hoping it somehow meant that you could be well… and remain here with us… But just like a brilliant child, you have finished your schoolwork early, and now God is calling you home to Him.. I felt Tim’s soul blessing us both that day, too. Again, optimist that I am, I hoped it was signaling that you would be well… But it does comfort me to know you will be greeted by the Masters, and by divine friends in God when the time comes.

    We love you Andy… We will miss you and tears will flow, for our loss of you here – but we will bless your freedom. Our prayers are with you and your family…

    And I will be forever impressed that you had the spirit to hike the PCT. Awesome.

    Love, Always,

    Mary

    “Friends of other lives easily recognize one another in the astral world,” [Sri Yukteswar said]. “Rejoicing at the immortality of friendship, they realize the indestructibility of love, often doubted at the time of the sad, delusive partings of earthly life.”

  45. Gourmet says:

    Dear Astro, Betsy, & Michael,
    Just wanted to say that we are thinking of you all and send our love. Astro- Thank you for your friendship. I could not have scripted a better beginning and ending to our PCT thru hike. It was a real honor to share your company. Love, Gourmet (& Jayne)

  46. Elizabeth Sendek says:

    Astro, I suddenly started to think of you and tried to find news. Thank you Betsy for updating this blog. We gave Astro a ride out of Grider Creek and into Seiad Valley. He was trying to get to Ashland by Monday to meet his grandfather. Such a polite and strong young man. We did not know your story yet but later became amazed by your courage. Our son Bouncer spent some time hiking with you and you were such an inspiration to him. Our thoughts and prayers are with you.

  47. What a special and strong family you are…
    Astro, I had the pleasure of meeting you the night before going in to Mammoth Lakes. You, Zen, Hallmark, Yankee Son, Just Retired and others all camped together at an especially beautiful site. We had a fire and a really nice evening all talking together after climbing up out of some super nasty mosquitoes. I remember how much I hoped that we would catch you again and have more time to hike together. Also you shared some of your dinner and it was really really good. Zen and I met your stepfather at the bottom of the trail. I think you guys were going to go do some post-father’s day fishing. He was just as nice as you described him to be! We had a beer and he gave us a ride to town.
    My interactions with you and your family have been brief and even indirect (Betsy via the delicious food). But you guys radiate something special. I think about you often and I know that I will continue to think about you and the positive lessons and feelings I’ve taken away from those interactions. Thank you, Astro! -Wampus Cat

  48. Emily Quilter says:

    Hi Andy and Betsy: I also was on the Costa Rica trip with the Laguna Beach Methodist Church back in 2004 (my mom Ann posted above about it). Andy did an awesome job as our token “man” of the bunch, even though at that time he was still pretty shy–although not shy enough to not allow me to pull his hair up in a ponytail and pluck his magnificent unibrow! (In his defense, he did protest…feebly.) He worked so hard on that trip. How unsurprising ;)

    It breaks my heart to know that death–one’s final adventure–is coming so soon on the heels of the PCT adventure. It isn’t fair. It isn’t right. I don’t have a place in my heart for the anger I feel toward this evil disease. Last year I ran the Los Angeles Marathon (for me, an extraordinarily painful 26.2 mile slog with a busted knee) for the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society. I am determined to believe the $100,000 my Team in Training marathon teammates and I raised will fund the cure for this cowardly, dastardly, horrible disease.

    Andy, you have battled so hard, and I think it’s okay that I speak for everyone who read your blog when I say that we all walked away with a brilliant and hopeful new perspective. (“Holy crap, he hiked the PCT…with CANCER…and now my frustration at my piles of laundry and messy kitchen is seems really, REALLY trivial.”) Go on this last adventure knowing that YOU MADE A DIFFERENCE. So many of us won’t be able to say the same. I’m proud of you.

    Pura Vida, mi amigo. Te guardaré en mi corazón, Vaya en paz.
    Emily Quilter

  49. Dave says:

    Dear Andy and Betsy

    Words fail me. A few simple tears and a sniffle replace them. I know this journey much too intimately. There will be sweet times. Cultivate them. Continue to celebrate the moment. Continue to celebrate life. This is a walk we will all do. Some prefer to walk alone in silence. I hope that is not you. So many people love you both. For Karen and I that love formed a pillow that comforted us in the hardest of times and made celebrating the better times so much more full. For those that formed this pillow, they shared this journey, and were richer for it. It helped them with their loss. It is about the most intimate thing that can ever be.

    I had been talking with Imperial Gourmet. We were wondering why you weren’t using Deon’s drug. Now we know. Sometimes our immune system sucks. There are miracles, then there’s life.

    Love.
    May love carry you forward.

    Dave (Gourmet and I (and Karen and Jayne) picked you up in Chelan and walked with you from Hearts Pass to Manny Park.

  50. Jamin Cook says:

    All of us at Yakima Valley Memorial Hospital have continued to follow Astro, and we were happy to be Trail Angels. Astro has made a great impact on us, and re-lit some of our passion for oncology. I have never met an individual who was as resilient and wise as Astro. I was his nurse for one shift, and was blown away by Atro’s sense of peace and inner strength. We hope to learn more about life from Astro. Please know you’ve made a lasting impact.

  51. Hee Haw says:

    Astro & Family, as another who was lucky enough to meet you guys on the trail last year and briefly get to know you I send positive thoughts & feelings your way – the same way Andy was able to shine his light on all of us out there on the trail. I don’t think there was anyone out there who wasn’t DEEPLY moved by your story & courage – really put things in perspective. There are many paths to be walked in this universe & I am thankful our paths crossed, however brief.

  52. demuzeekmon says:

    Astro, Betsy, Michael and family,
    May the Lord bless you and keep you,
    May the Lord lift up His countenance upon you and be gracious to you,
    May the Lord make His face to shine upon you and give you peace.

  53. Nancy says:

    Oh, Betsy, I’m feeling so sad about this. What an incredibly special son you have. I am sending you both hugs right now. I will be in Laguna- and chanting- Wednesday, September 4th. Would love to see you and give you a hug in person.

  54. Charles says:

    Andy’s story was in the local paper here in WA, that story began my love affair with hiking, it changed and saved my life. I have been suffering from PTSD, TBI from injuries sustained in Iraq, I had nearly reached my limit of what I could take…thank Andy for me if you can..in our hearts and prayers..the trail never ends, it goes on and on, I will see you on it eventually Andy, dont drink all the beer till we catch up…

  55. Lin says:

    Andy, Betsy, Michael, Alex; You have forever changed the conversation about death. Your grace, courage, spiritual intelligence and open hearts are an inspiration to us all. Bless you.

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