Tony Stark is the eccentric billionaire that wears the Iron Man suit in the “Avengers.” Andrew Stark isn’t as rich as Tony, but he’s certainly as tough. And he doesn’t need the suit. Maybe they’re cousins.
I met Andrew nearly three years ago. I was the editor of five community newspapers in the Lake Norman area at the time and my sports editor left for corporate America without giving me a two-week notice.
Someone told me Andrew was looking for work. Knowing that he had the experience of serving as sports editor and managing editor for these newspapers, I thought it would be a seamless transition.
Before you know it, I had interviewed and hired a new sports editor within three hours of the other guy giving his notice.
Working with Andrew was just as easy. He had all his work turned in by deadline. Never a hassle.
So when I became editor of these newspapers, I knew I had to bring Andrew back.
I have been continuously amazed at the level of productivity and work ethic Andrew has displayed during the tail end of his cancer treatment. For those of you who weren’t able to read our Thanksgiving edition, Andrew wrote about how thankful he feels after his throat cancer diagnosis.
He has endured 35 bouts of radiation and three rounds of chemotherapy. During the downtime of his treatments, Andrew focused on work. He never complained. He just hustled.
Recently, he’s struggled with a condition that prevents him from opening his mouth that wide, but it hasn’t deterred him at all.
I was really happy for Andrew when he shared with readers how far he’s come with his cancer treatment.
Then came a call from Andrew’s wife, Heather, on Nov. 30. She had to take Andrew to the emergency room that morning because he was coughing up blood. Turns out he was bleeding in the area where he had his treatment.
Andrew nearly died.
The next day, Andrew emails me saying he intended to write all of the stories that he had budgeted for this week. He downplayed the severity of what happened. I told him not to worry.
Andrew has been in the intensive care unit over the last several days recovering. It’s going to take several weeks before he can get back to work. I’ll hold down the fort until Andrew returns.
Please keep Andrew, Heather and their three children in your prayers.