Entering Calallen High School, Andrew Laury envisioned himself spending his Friday nights under the bright lights of a football field like so many Texas students his age. Then, just weeks into his freshman year, Andrew began experiencing seizures, including 14 in a single day. A trip to Driscoll Children's Hospital revealed Andrew had a brain tumor.
After surgery and a year of chemotherapy and radiation, Andrew finally was on the football field last week, but this time he donned a graduation cap and gown instead of a helmet and shoulder pads. Now, he's headed to Wharton County Junior College thanks in part to the Auxiliary to Driscoll Children's Hospital's Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Award. Andrew and Rockport-Fulton High School graduate Denali Huff each received the scholarship, which is named after a devoted Driscoll Children's Hospital volunteer and is given to students who are former or current Driscoll oncology patients.
The Driscoll Auxiliary also gives out the Clara Driscoll Spirit Scholarship, which is awarded to some of the hospital's student volunteers. On Thursday afternoon, Driscoll Auxilians held a reception to honor all the scholarship recipients in the Residents Conference Room at the hospital.
"It's going to pay for most of my college, so I can have a better future," said Andrew, who will celebrate his 18th birthday June 13. "I've been through some rough times, but now I can go to college, which will help me get a solid job with pay and benefits and will allow me to be a successful person and hopefully help kids like myself in the future."
When he was declared cancer-free before his junior year and moved to Van Vleck, Andrew held out hopes of playing high school football as a senior. He didn't end up being cleared for physical contact, but that didn't stop him from being a competitor in the classroom.
"He was an immense pleasure to teach in class," Van Vleck High School English teacher Jonathan Lunsford said. "His positive attitude is definitely infectious and increases his ability to work with and motivate his fellow classmates."
Andrew attributes that positive attitude to the support he received both in his community and at Driscoll Children's Hospital. Andrew lived in Corpus Christi and attended Calallen Middle School and Calallen High School before moving to Van Vleck after his sophomore year.
"The powerful strength in a small community in Calallen that rallied together to support me, and the support I received at Driscoll was unbelievable," Andrew said. "The hospital has an amazing staff that deals with illness daily, but still had a smile and strong words of encouragement to help me make it through my journey. I was never alone."
Marcia K. Wilcox Scholarship Recipients
Denali Huff, Rockport-Fulton High School
Andrew Laury, Van Vleck High School
Clara Driscoll Spirit Scholarship Recipients
Anushka Bhowal, Carroll
Paige Comstock, Ray
Victoria Gonzales, Tuloso-Midway
Brittany Kellogg, Tuloso-Midway
Hannah Perez, Carroll
Gabrielle Jade L. Redublo, Redublo Academy/Home School
Anissa M. Trevino, Carroll
Ruby Trevino, Collegiate HS