Blood drive set for Nederland 16-year-old battling bone cancer

Published 12:40 am Friday, June 24, 2022

NEDERLAND — A blood drive is set in honor of a Nederland teen undergoing treatment for a form of bone cancer.

Andrè van Aswegen, 16, was diagnosed with Ewing Sarcoma April 4. His mother, Natasha van Aswegen, said he began having recurring pain in his right leg about a year ago. He was brought to a number of doctors and an urgent care in an attempt to diagnose the cause.

Andrè was then referred to a neurologist because medical officials believed a pinched nerve could be causing his pain.

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Ultimately, he ended up at Texas Children’s Hospital, where doctors diagnosed his cancer.

On Wednesday, he was admitted for five days of chemotherapy and a 12-hour hydration therapy, his mother said. He will then return to the hospital for scans to see how the treatments are working. Next week Andrè and his family go to M.D. Anderson where they will discuss radiology, she said.

In total, treatments are expected to last nine months.

The upcoming blood drive is a “replenish the need” type of drive, according to Cameron Palmer, public relations representative with Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center. The blood donated in July benefits those in need of the life-saving donations.

Andrè had a blood transfusion two weeks ago, his mother said, adding there is a need for donations.

Andrè & family

The van Aswegens’ moved to the United States from South Africa in 2016, starting in Louisiana. In 2020, they moved to Nederland.

The family has a nickname of sorts for Andrè — Iron Man. In the family’s native language, there is a phrase that roughly translates to Iron and it has been adapted to represent Andrè.

Andrè is a sophomore at Nederland High School and a member of the band, though at this time his health won’t allow him to participate.

When asked how the family is keeping their spirits up, Natasha van Aswegen said they are hanging in there.

“It’s not easy, no part of it is. You don’t expect your child to go through this,” she said. “We are coping one day at a time.”

The blood drive is set for 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. July 9 in the parking lot of 8585 9th Ave. in Port Arthur. The drive is hosted by Gulf Coast Regional Blood Center.