In May 2010, Citizen Potawatomi Nation member Stephen Andrew ‘Andy’ Young graduated from Okemah, Oklahoma High School with honors. He had the opportunity to pursue his education with several full academic scholarships. Instead, he chose to serve his country in the United States Army. He planned to pursue additional training to be a nuclear, biological, and chemical warfare specialist.
Andy turned 18 years old on July 17, 2010. His mother, Tammy Marie Young, and his maternal grandmother, Frankie Sue (Melott) Jones, are both CPN members. Andy is the great-grandson of Frank T. Melott.
Six weeks into his Basic Training at Fort Leonard Wood in Missouri and after his having four wisdom teeth extracted, Andy was diagnosed with acute leukemia. On July 20, 2010, he was admitted to the University of Missouri Hospital in Columbia, where he remains today, in critical condition undergoing multiple types of chemotherapy.
Andy’s aunt Amanda says, “He was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia, and had a white blood count of over 400,000. With an amazing staff at the hospital and the effectual prayers of so many, Andy is responding favorably to treatment. On July 23rd, Andy’s white blood count was just 15,000.”
Amanda adds, “One of the first things Andy wrote when he came out of sedation in the hospital was ‘I want to finish 9basic training).’ When his military superiors came to visit, he wrote ‘Fill it up’ and ‘Am I done?’ Even as his body fights against this disease, Andy wants to make sure that everybody knows he’s going back to basic. He’s not done. Neither are we. Neither is God.”
A prognosis for his condition and recovery has not and cannot be made at this time. However, his doctors say he may be hospitalized for as long as six months.
In order for Andy’s family to stay by his bedside, they must either secure lodging in Columbia, Missouri or travel for seven hours from Boling, Oklahoma. The Website www.caringbridge.org/visit/stephenandrewyoung has been established for anyone to donate to the trust fund that has been set up to absorb some of their expenses and to offer prayers for Andy’s recovery.
The two trust accounts are: The Stephen Andrew Young Benefit Fund, Stockman’s Bank, Mangum, Oklahoma, www.stockmansbankok.com and The Andy Young Support Trust, MidFirst Bank, Oklahoma, www.midfirst.com.
Cassie Thomas, a family friend in Young’s hometown Okemah, says efforts on his behalf are underway there, too. “Two collection jars have been set out in Okemah as of this writing, one at Sharpe’s and one at Mazzio’s. We extend our sincere thanks to these businesses for allowing collections at their sites,” Thomas says.
Thomas also reports that Scentsy Candles will donate a percentage of each sale from a group of local Okemah sellers. Thomas’ grandmother has pledged to donate a percentage of her Avon sells to Young. And, the Okemah band Negative Zero wants to perform a benefit concert for Young. The band is seeking the community’s help in this effort. Anyone who can provide a venue, advertising, funds, or sponsorship in any way, is asked to contact Thomas at email@example.com.
The CaringBridge Website also contains information on how and where to donate blood in Andy’s name.
Additionally, Andy’s doctors do not yet know whether he will need a bone marrow transplant. However, his Native American heritage might make it more difficult to find a matching donor.