In Andrew’s Memory: Allison Wusaty
When Allison’s brother, Andrew, passed away from brain cancer in 2019, she was inspired to take back the power the disease had over her family. Now, Allison fundraises with her nephews in memory of her brother and in hopes of bettering cancer outcomes. This is their story.
Allison’s brother, Andrew, was diagnosed with brain cancer at the age of 30. He underwent four brain surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation and received care at the Tom Baker Cancer Centre. “He had an excellent relationship with his oncology team,” Allison reports. She further describes Andrew’s personal bonds with certain nurses, doctors, and surgeons and their positive impact on him.
Sadly, over ten years, the cancer grew more serious, reaching its peak in 2019. “He had glioblastoma,” Allison explained. “It was suddenly terminal.” Andrew passed away in March of that year. He left behind his wife, Deserae, and two sons. Archer was a newborn baby and Pryce was 4-years-old. His parents and sister were also devastated. “Our family has a hole without him” she says.
Allison recalls feeling helpless and uncertain about what she could do for her brother. “Cancer of a loved one is a very overwhelming and emotional process” she explains. “It affected Andrew and also the whole family.”
Together with her parents, nephews and sister-in-law, Allison has found fundraising is a beautiful way to honor her brother. The family is motivated to help others who are experiencing cancer.
Recently, Andrew’s sons, Pryce, 8 and Archer, 4, created their own company called “Wu’s Salts”, selling 100 bags of bath salts in one month and donating their earnings to the Alberta Cancer Foundation. It was a family project, with Andrew’s wife, Deserae, even looking after the marketing and photography.
Allison emphasizes, “It’s been important to have the kids involved and have conversations with them about why we fundraise”.
The family understands that cancer impacts everyone, whether personally or through other people in their lives. “That is why we fundraise,” she says.
My brother endured 4 brain surgeries, radiation, chemo, constant appointments and many medications. Through all of that, he travelled, worked, had deep relationships with family and friends and always kept laughing. Of course it wasn’t always positive but he always found a way to keep going. That remains my guiding light as I continue on without him. I live life in a thoughtful way, travel, have close relationships with friends and family and keep smiling. I also grieve the loss of such an amazing brother and human being every day. However, his memory lives on with me and I pass on all of these great memories of Andrew to Pryce and Archer, his children. Alongside them, I fundraise for cancer patients just like Andrew and hope that one day we can eradicate this terrible disease.