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.