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Meet Andrew

image of all abilities champ 2023

Meet Andrew - The Comeback Kid

23-year-old Andrew Woods was born with DiGeorge Syndrome, a condition that causes a variety of physical and developmental challenges. Before he was even three years old, Andrew underwent three significant surgeries to correct a cleft palate, and to repair holes in his esophagus and heart.

Despite developmental and learning challenges brought about by his disability, Andrew made it through school and graduated from Bay City Central High with a diploma at the age of 19.

He then moved to Oakland County where he lived in a group home for a while before eventually moving in with his niece where they created an apartment for him within their home.  He began getting involved with community activities and got a job as a courtesy clerk at Kroger.

In January of 2022, Andrew was travelling back from a visit with his father in Bay City when he and some of his family members were in a terrible car accident. Andrew suffered a major concussion, multiple broken bones and was in a coma for several days. He spent some time in a rehab facility and has made great progress in his recovery journey over the past year.

Since the accident, Andrew’s whole outlook on life has changed. He is much more social and has become obsessed with being healthy and working out. He joined a walking club with seniors at the Oxford Community Center. He volunteers at the Community Garden in Oxford and with the children’s program at his church on Sundays. He is receiving support from his Easterseals MORC Supports Coordinator and his Peer Mentor, and they are currently working with Michigan Works to help him find a job to get back to work. He is happy and smiling again. Andrew loves country music, dancing, and going to the movies and he is starting to make friends. 

Andrew used to struggle a lot with anxiety and depression because he felt like people only saw him as his disability. But with everything he has overcome and as he has continued gaining independence, he now sees a purpose for his life. Andrew has learned to see the good in himself and his story is a reminder to all of us to see the good – the talents, the value, the abilities of all those who may be living with a disability in our community. 

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