By Garrett Boyd ’16, Minh Nguyen ’16, Jake Kolessar ’16, Po-Yuan Chen ’16, and Kaicheng Yu ’16
Sem students are coming to the aid of junior Andrew Schukraft ’17 through the recently founded Andrew’s Army program. Schukraft ’16 was diagnosed with kidney disease over the summer and is now going to the Geisinger Hospital in Danville for treatment.
Schukraft ’17 is not the first teenager to be diagnosed with kidney disease. Recent studies performed by the National Kidney Foundation suggest that one in fifty young adults may contract the illness. Additionally, researchers at the University of Michigan Medical School claim that a gene mutation is responsible for the illness, since it causes nephronophthisis, which is the primary cause of kidney failure in children and young adults.
Nonetheless, neither Schukraft ’17 nor his peers have given up the fight. As a captain of the Boys Soccer Team, he has made many close friends who are concerned for his well-being and are encouraging him throughout his battle.
It is for reasons like this that Andrew’s Army has become so popular. Founded by the mother of fellow junior Connor Switzer ‘17, Andrew’s Army was created for the purpose of raising awareness for a possible kidney donor. The organization is now also handing out green bracelets to encourage awareness and express support.
“I think it’s a great idea,” says fellow soccer player Alex Grosek ‘16. “The brackets are a great initiative because they raise awareness of Andrew’s situation. This can make people more likely to take part in events and help out.”
Schukraft ’17 expressed his gratitude to the community, saying that the support he has seen “has been great support for me, and I am hopeful that as the wristbands spread, so does awareness. Everyone has been very supportive.”