About

Andrew Banks Lyon.  Born December 9, 1988 in Laguna Beach, CA

Andy was always an exceptionally bright young man.  My first memory of his unique intelligence was when his kindergarten teacher had pulled me aside to talk to me.  I was immediately worried even though I had no basis for this fear.

She quietly told me that they tested the children’s reading level that week and Andy was reading at a second grade level.  She asked if it was all right with me if they placed him in a higher-level reading group with students in another classroom.

Andy was an exceptional student, not only intellectually, but creatively too.  He won many awards and was honored for academic and performance based achievements.  He seemed to take it all in stride.  I later learned that this push to succeed and be competitive was not really Andy’s true nature.  He enjoys learning and is very interested in the world around him, how things work and especially problem-solving, difficult calculations and mathematical problems.  The pressure to succeed was always a negative force rather than an encouraging one.

Andy made the best grades, he participated in sports, theatre and academic clubs, science projects and even tutored kids in math, science and Spanish.

Then Andy’s Dad died when he was 16.  His death hit Andy pretty hard.  He cruised through High School with a few hick-ups, a little depression and a lapse in judgement when writing an English paper when he got caught cheating.  Regardless, he was named a National Merit Scholar, graduated at the top of his class and awarded two scholarships.  He was accepted into several prestigious universities and choose UC Berkeley to major in Astro-Physics.

At the beginning of Andy’s second semester at Berkeley he wasn’t feeling well and went to the clinic and was shortly diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma (cancer).   Obviously, this was devastating news.  Andy took a medical leave from Berkeley to undergo Chemotherapy at home.  Upon his return to his home-town for treatment we asked what would make his journey through this more comfortable.  He said he would like to have a dog and to learn how to play the piano.  Both sustained him through the difficult times.

Andy returned to Berkeley the next year and cruised through with excellent grades and at the same time kept up regular visits to his oncologist for check-ups.  During this time Andy began to explore eastern philosophy and religions and even took a class to learn more about Yoga and Buddhism.

Before he was about to go back to Berkeley for the fall for his Junior year, Andy was diagnosed with re-occurring Hodgkin’s disease.  This was a major blow to him, our family and to our community — all the people that had supported us through his cancer before.  This time it was decided that drastic measures would need to be taken to insure that the cancer would be eradicated — this meant a higher level of chemotherapy followed by a stem cell transplant and 22 days in the hospital in a sterile, isolated environment.  Grueling, heart-wrenching, painful and sad.

Andy survived!  He celebrated his 21st Birthday two weeks after he was discharged from City of Hope and completion of his stem cell transplant.  Then, exactly 100 days after he was discharged, his oncologist found a tumor on his lower spine.  Andy had cancer again.

Right around this time Andy was beginning to seek out alternative and complementary methods to heal his body and bring it back into balance after all the toxins and chemicals that he had been given and exposed to.  He began to educate himself on ancient traditions of natural health and well-being and learn how he could begin to incorporate those into his life through diet, nutrition, exercise and spiritual practices.  He began to work with an Auyervedic Practitioner and a Naturopath.

He began to question his oncologists remedies and regimes — his studies and his tactics.   So far western medicine hadn’t brought him any cures, and could he really rely on it?  NO he couldn’t.  So Andy took his care and his life into his own hands and despite what western medicine advised, he decided that there was only one thing that would truly cure him and that was NATURE.

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9 Responses to About

  1. Hey. I wish you fine journeying and a swell respite from the past few years. Get back safe!

  2. Amanda says:

    Hi
    We just met Andy at Cafe 371 near Anza/Idyllwild where we shared stories and some good eats. Your hiking the Pacific Crest Trail is amazing and we are sending you all our good thoughts. May you have many trail angels of all walks of life among your incredible journey. 🙂
    Take Care and Good luck-
    Brad and Amanda Stone

  3. Kim Farrell says:

    Hi Astro — great meeting you at breakfast at Tuolumne Meadows, Yosemite, today! Enjoy the journey and hope someday we can get in a game of Settlers of Catan and High Frontier with you. –Kim and Chris from Cupertino

  4. dambara108 says:

    Astro Andy! Hi, I’m Dambara from Ananda Palo Alto. I’m not sure whether we’ve met in person, but I’ve been following you since I saw your note in the Villager about hiking the PCT. Just to let you know, I’m with you in Spirit 100%! You’re doing what I’ve longed to do. I’ve hiked portions (including Mexican border to Campo), and this August am hiking the John Muir Trail, North->South. Main thing is, just want you to know you’re blessed, and “watched” (from above, as well as by me!). Cheers, and have a HUGELY inspiring time! Hope to talk with you in person sometime! Joy, Dambara

  5. Debra says:

    Hey, Andy. You are carrying a lot of kindred spirits with you on this adventure. I just read you are probably about as close to where I live right now as you will get (Seattle) and I wish you godspeed to the Canadian border. Give Mt. Rainier my regards . . . my health has kept me from being the frequent and faithful visitor to her that I had planned to be. Godspeed and . . . well, you will love the North Cascades!

  6. Ryan says:

    You are an inspiration brother!

  7. Fran Abel says:

    Hi Astro, Just spoke with Freestyle. He, Knees and Bodybag just finished. They were so glad to hear you were back on the trail. How can they reach you? They’ll be in Seattle tonight, 10/6. Freestyle’s phone is 360 920 8280. They are soooo cheering for you. Freestyle’s mom, Fran

  8. warren says:

    Astro,

    You are an inspiration. I found out about your blog because of Wired and Rockin’ blogs. -I read your blog all the way through from beginning to end and am marveled at your courage and determination. Thank you to yourself, your mom, and your step dad for blogging and sharing your journey and for making this public. It has helped me a bit with the fairly recent news of my pet bird Hasty and her having been diagnosed with squamous cell c*****. She’s doing fine now but is taking medicine to correct an air sac infection so we can do cryo surgery. We hope and pray that she’ll make it through all this. Just gotta keep getting on I suppose.

    Check out Job 12:7-11. It may provide some insight into your comfort in nature. I know it has for me.

    Welcome home Astro. Keep on truckin’. (BTW – I’m just over the hill from where you were born and we share birthdays – I was born 25 years earlier than you though!)

  9. saracfry says:

    Astro,

    I’m so proud of you for finishing! I’m so proud of US for finishing. I wanted to reach out and see if you’d like to talk. I hiked this year too. I reached the border just a few days before you on October 12th. We have a lot in common. Trust me. I just thought it might be nice talking w someone who knows what you’re going through etc. It’s totally up to you. But.. it might be nice for both of us…

    Blood Bank

    http://saraspcthike.blogspot.com/

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