Andrew Wernicke, a senior at Brookfield Central High School, has been battling brain cancer on and off for seven years.
"He's the strongest kid I've ever met," said Bob Fuchs, student supervisor at Brookfield Central High School. "The cancer has come back four times, and every time, he just deals with it. He's a role model for all of us."
Fuchs helps organize fundraisers for Wernicke at Brookfield Central.
Wernicke, 18, was first diagnosed with cancer when he was 11-years-old, after he suffered from severe migraines. He's gone through chemotherapy, radiation, and multiple brain surgeries.
"I knew what cancer was, but I didn't know how it would affect me," Wernicke said. "I had to stop playing sports. I felt so sick for so long. I got so weak. It was discouraging.”
But he always beats it.
"It's the best feeling when you go for an MRI and you find out the cancer is gone," he said. "But then, when you get another MRI a few months later and realize the cancer has come back, it's the worst thing."
Wernicke's cancer keeps returning. He found out in January it's now in his spine and spinal cord. He and his family are constantly researching new treatments.
"I would do anything to get rid of this, and kill this cancer," he said. "I believe I can beat it. But it's hard when there are friends I met in the hospital, who weren't able to beat it."
His teachers, classmates, and their parents would do anything to help Wernicke beat cancer too.
"Everyone at Brookfield Central is so supportive," Wernicke said. "It means a lot. It's such a special thing."
Parents have made him blankets. A school secretary, and her family, donated airline miles for Wernicke and his family to travel to San Francisco for an experimental treatment. Teachers and classmates are helped raise money to pay for the costly procedure.
"When someone is down, we all pull together," Fuchs said. "No one is more deserving."
It makes Wernicke's resolve to keep fighting even stronger.
"I'll just do whatever it takes," he said.
This Saturday, May 6, there will be a series of fundraisers for Wernicke and the MACC Fund, which helps fight childhood cancer.
- "Fight Like a Kid" 5K - 8:30 a.m. at Brookfield Central High School $25
- Pancake Breakfast - 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Brookfield Central High School $7
- Andrew Wernicke Fundraiser at Jimmy's Island Grill (2303 N Mayfair Rd. at the Radisson Wauwatosa) starts at 8 p.m. featuring live music.
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