Nederland teenager, his family continue childhood cancer battle

Published 12:36 am Friday, June 9, 2023

Natasha van Aswegen recently bought her son Andrè a mustard seed necklace to help him remember as long as he has faith he can move mountains.

The mustard seed is a nod to the Biblical book of Matthew and a small reminder for the now 17-year-old to rely on faith in his battle with metastatic Ewing sarcoma.

“Everything happens for a reason. He helps us through each and every step that needs to be taken,” Natasha van Aswegen said by phone Wednesday. Her and Andrè are staying at a hotel in Houston while he undergoes radiation treatments at MD Anderson Cancer Center.

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The mother started a GoFundMe titled Cancer Support Squad for Andrè van Aswegen.

She said Andrè’s doctor recommended they not drive in daily for the radiation treatments because of its effects.

“It’s best for us to be close,” Natasha van Aswegen said.

Expenses are adding up during their stay.

This is Andrè’s second bout with the cancer.

Andrè’s journey

Andrè was first diagnosed with metastatic Ewing sarcoma in April 2022. He underwent extensive chemotherapy and six weeks of radiation treatment and was cleared in November.

The teen’s hair grew back and he was able to go back to Nederland High School after the Christmas break.

“He started with half days and pushed himself,” she said. “For the first three days he did half-days then pushed himself to do full days.”

Van Aswegen said Andrè transitioned well, met a girlfriend and life was happening for him. He and the family, with the exception of his older brother Sarel van Aswegen who was in U.S. Navy boot camp at the time, went to Disneyworld as part of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

“But not long after the holiday he started having headaches that became more frequent. It came to the point he was nauseous and vomiting and in constant pain,” she said.

Pain medication did not help, so she called his doctor who advised him to go to the nearest emergency room. They chose Exceptional Emergency Center in Port Arthur.