Andy Allen's Story
Andy was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia at age 2 in 2005. He went through 3 ½ years of chemotherapy and he beat it! Most of the Andy’s Challenge volunteers met the Allen family through participation in The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society’s Team in Training, an endurance sport training program. We watched Andy go through treatment and spent hours upon hours cycling, running and swimming to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars to fund cancer research in Andy’s honor. Many of us celebrated with a big party when Andy took the last of his chemo pills. Life became a new “normal” and we were all hopeful for Andy’s future. Tim and Luetta Allen continued to raise awareness of pediatric cancer by speaking at fundraising rallies, participating in more cancer-related events, and sharing their story with other cancer kid parents.
Then in 2014 after a carefree day at the beach with the kids, Luetta received a phone call with news of the unthinkable … after nearly five years, Andy’s cancer came back and it came back with a vengeance. To treat Andy, doctors at MD Anderson used an aggressive treatment protocol that didn’t even exist during Andy’s first leukemia battle. Feelings of helplessness, frustration and anger were shared by the Andy’s Challenge family as we asked one another, “How Can I Help? What Can I Do?” A few of us decided that one of the best ways to show our love for this family was to continue to raise money to fund the research that saves lives. The Andy Allen Clays for a Cure Challenge was born in 2014 and Andy's Challenge, the nonprofit, was created in 2017.