Watch the Oberle’s journey in the 2018 CCF Video.
On May 3, 2010, Andrew became Caroline and Brian Oberle’s third child and first boy. From day one, he made his presence known. At 10 ½ pounds, Andrew had been the largest baby born at GBMC, and was affectionately known by the nurses as “mayor of the nursery.”
For the next few years, Andrew grew up happily in his home, competing for attention with his older sisters Julia and Laura. In July 2014, Caroline took Andrew to his doctor for persistent swollen lymph nodes. His pediatrician Dr. Starr ran multiple tests, which proved to be concerning. He recommended Andrew go to Sinai Hospital.
Andrew and his mother met Dr. Joseph Wiley, who confirmed the troubling test results. Andrew was diagnosed with Acute Lymphocytic (or Lymphoblastic) Leukemia (ALL), which accounts for about one in every three cancers in children. Andrew’s cancer, they learned, was rarer and slightly more aggressive than most ALL. Dr. Wiley suggested Andrew begin treatment immediately. Fortunately, Andrew was diagnosed early, before his immune system was compromised, so chemotherapy treatments began the day after his diagnosis and just a week after the visit to the pediatrician.
After three and a half difficult years of chemotherapy, Andrew completed his cancer treatments at the end of 2017 and was joined by family on February 19, 2018, to ring the bell at Sinai Hospital, signaling the conclusion of his treatments.
Andrew lives in Silver Spring, Maryland with his parents and sisters. Once Andrew’s immune system strengthened, the Oberles could finally have the pets that the kids had begged for. Rounding out the family now is now a pug named Gracie and a cat named Skye.
Andrew loves baseball, the O’s, and especially his friend Johnathan Schoop. Andrew has made other well-known friends through his cancer journey, including Maryland Governor Larry Hogan.
Andrew is active and loves all 8-year-old stuff, like Pokemon, swimming, geocaching, basketball and Monopoly. Caroline believes Andrew’s experience has given him compassion and appreciation beyond his years – he makes sure everyone is included in games, and showers attention on babies. Andrew has decided to be a “baby doctor” when he grows up.
Although Dr. Wiley has since retired, Andrew is still treated at Sinai Hospital.
UPDATE: May 2020 – Andrew thankfully remains in remission since finishing nearly 4 years of chemotherapy in December 2017. He turned 10 years old on May 3rd and finally learned how to ride a bike! This is a HUGE accomplishment for Andrew! Not because he didn’t want to learn how to ride, but because so many chemotherapy drugs would make usual bumps and bruises very dangerous. But today he rides his bike proudly and learned in only 24 hours on the eve of his 10th birthday. Andrew is in 4th grade in Olney, MD and continues to be a straight A student (even with online learning). Andrew still sees Yoram Unguru, M.D. at Sinai Hospital in Baltimore every three months to make sure he remains cancer free.