A local teen with brain cancer whose Brookfield high school rallied around him last year is now succeeding as a college student.
Andrew Wernicke almost missed his high school graduation because of cancer treatment, but Brookfield Central High School surprised him and held a special ceremony just for him .
Now, six months later, Wernicke is enjoying life as a college freshman at UW-Whitewater. And the treatment he's taking is working.
"I'm just really grateful that this is working," he said.
Like most college kids, Wernicke says he's getting used to being on his own, having to set alarms and get to class on time.
But unlike most freshmen, he also has to remember to take about 20 different pills throughout the day.
"I have to take them on time, take them at the right time," he said. "If I'm out with my friends, I have to bring them with."
He's part of a clinical trial testing an experimental drug that's supposed to stimulate his immune system and fight the cancer. He joined the trial in July.
Every month, he has to travel to Georgia for an MRI and the results of his last MRI show that many of his tumors are shrinking.
"I'm feeling better, I haven't really had any symptoms from this which is, I guess the doctors would say is surprising that I'm doing so well," said Wernicke.
He said he's only taking three classes this semester but that's given him more free time to enjoy his college life. He's made some great friends so far and he says he joined a ping-pong league.
If the treatment continues to work, it could mean one day he will be cancer free.
"That would be a miracle, I would just be so overjoyed just because cancer at any point, something could just pop up and that could be the end," he said. "It just makes me feel really good that this is working and just hope that it keeps working and it never comes back."