“Bands and Burgers” event to help pay medical costs for local boy suffering from rare illness

Friends of Christopher Andrew, a young man from Moab who recently was diagnosed with a serious illness, have organized a fund-raising event to help pay for his medical expenses.

The “bands and burgers” event will be held Thursday and Friday, April 1 and 2, from noon until 8 p.m. outside the Moab Adventure Center, 225 S. Main Street in Moab.

Freshly made hamburgers and other food will be sold as part of the fund-raiser, and reddish-brown rubber wristbands inscribed with the words “JEEP SAFARI” on the front, “Moab 2010” on the back, and “CHRIS ANDREW” inside, will also be sold, organizers said. Gift certificates to local businesses will also be available for sale at discounted prices. For participants who want to let their hair down and show off their singing skills, Karaoke will be offered throughout the event.

All proceeds will help pay for Andrew’s treatments and hospital stay.

Andrew became ill on Saturday, March 13, after riding the Amasa Back mountain biking trail. That night, he began coughing, and in the days following, he was admitted to Allen Memorial Hospital with a severe case of pneumonia.

His health continued to decline and he was later transported by helicopter to St. Mary’s Regional Medical Center in Grand Junction, Colo, where he spent almost two weeks in the intensive care unit, heavily sedated and breathing with the help of a machine.

Doctors finally figured out that they weren’t fighting pneumonia, but a rare autoimmune disease called “P-ANCA vasculitis.” The disease causes the immune system to suddenly start making antibodies that attack healthy, normal blood vessel tissue – in Andrew’s case, in his lungs. Andrew is currently receiving treatment to combat the rogue antibodies and put the disease into remission.

He said his doctors have been surprised at how quickly Andrew is responding to treatment and expect a full recovery, but treatment and recovery will be slow.

Andrew, an avid outdoorsman with a deep love for red rock country, said he cannot wait to get back on the trail again. He said he is grateful for all the help and support he and his family continue to receive from the community.

ByBy Ivy Hazlett

contributing writer