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Andrew's Story

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Andrew was highly inspirational in many ways. It was remarkable that he never became self-conscious as he was an individual with a tracheostomy tube and was non-verbal and had to use a communication device.  He absolutely loved people and he loved his life and always wished to connect.  He believed persons with Special Needs have the right to be immersed in and fully integrated into the general community and he advocated for others like him participating in panels around San Diego County for California Children's Services communicating about and educating about transitioning from pediatric medical care to adult medical care and this is only one of his gifts that will be perpetuated through the Foundation.

 

All of his life Andrew fought the good fight self-advocating with coaching and appropriate assists to access programs and services and to be included and immersed into the general community as a peer equal human being. After High School he went on to Community College and had a history of being  employed in competitive integrated settings.  He worked for a Non-Profit and also for the Registrar of Voters garnering the same level of wages as anyone else. He had a vibrant social life with a girlfriend and strong family support together with a wonderful Faith community and participation in Friendship Circle San Diego.  He was also able to acheive living independently in his own home with positive appropriate supports including In Home Nurses, Support Staff Professionals, and with the help of his family and friends. 

Even though he was a person with physical disabilities Andrew absolutely loved sports and was a major basketball and baseball fan and loved to dance and listen to music.  He was on the football team at his high school as a Tee Retriever and lettered and wore his Letterman jacket proudly.  There were many times he would turn around from standing by the players on the field and wave his arms for the crowds in the stands to stand up and cheer for his team and everyone always stood up enthusiastically for him.  After high school graduation as an adult he was a regular player for a Special Needs Basketball team and he participated in Special Olympics baseball as well.

Andrew completely knew he was not nobody. Even if people stared at him he made sure he was seen. He was truly an ambassador-at-large for persons with disabilities which is reflected in the Foundation's Andrew's Ambassadors Project continuing his legacy of educating the public and professionals as to the value of persons with Special Needs and on the worth of Medically Fragile children and adults.  He was a strong self-advocate asking questions and asserting his rightful place in any setting. He did this by being kind and compassionate to everyone-he never recognized or related to people regarding their outward appearance-it was as if he saw each person's soul and he really tried to connect. 

 

Andrew was a real person and should be remembered as such.  He had a wonderful sense of humor and was very real in his interactions. He knew he was dearly loved by his family and he knew he was appreciated by many others in his life.   Remarkably, Andrew never compared himself to others and actually lived his life every single day as if every moment was his best. Andrew absolutely was an incredible actual example of a person overcoming severe challenges and his courage and strength and his humor have inspired us to honor his memory through the Andrew Lindhardt Memorial Foundation.

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