Event honors former Brother Rice student-athlete
The inaugural WeishFest will be presented on Sunday, Sept. 1, at Standard Bank Stadium in Crestwood.
The event, which will feature three musical acts, will donate 100 percent of its proceeds to the Andrew Weishar Foundation. The foundation is named after the former Brother Rice student-athlete who died of cancer at the age of 21 in October of last year.
General admission to WeishFest is $20 in advance, $25 at the gate. VIP access is available for $50 and $60, respectively, and includes unlimited food, soft drinks and beer, plus exclusive VIP seating and parking. Tickets are available by phone (489-2255), at the Standard Bank box office or on its online site.
Weishar, whose youngest brother, Nic, is a returning two-time all-area football player at Marist, was born on Oct. 26, 1990. He was an honors student and three-sport athlete at Rice before attending Illinois Wesleyan University. At age 19, however, Andrew Weishar was forced to leave college after he was diagnosed with colorectal cancer.
Intense rounds of chemotherapy and radiation followed, then Weishar was brought to the Mayo Clinic for extensive surgery designed to save his life. One year after the surgery was performed, though, the cancer reappeared and, after a two-year fight with the disease, he passed away in the early hours of Oct. 12, 2012.
Following is a written reflection of Weishar’s other brother, Dan, about his older sibling:
“[Andrew was] a loving grandson, nephew and cousin, a student of outstanding achievement, an athlete of countless accolades and a leader amongst his peers. He was a devout Catholic, a friend to everyone who crossed his path and the one that forever changed the lives of so many, a role model, an inspiration and, most of all, a hero to us all.
“His entire life reflected the amazing smile, laugh and love in which we all remember him. Considered to be the ‘nicest kid I have ever known’ by those privileged to meet him, Andrew invoked goodness in everyone around him his entire life. His faith was instilled in him at an early age as a student at St. Damian Grammar School. These years not only molded his faith, but also his character, academic superiority, competitiveness, leadership and drive to be great.
“And great he was. He went on to Brother Rice High School, where his legacy was further defined. In a community of thousands, Andrew shined as a student, an athlete and, most importantly, as one who perfectly portrayed what it means to ‘act manfully in Christ Jesus.’ Known for his amazing work ethic, unmatchable drive and unstoppable determination, Andrew very humbly made his mark on the South Side of Chicago.
“[After] graduating from Brother Rice, Andrew chose to further his academics and football career at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington. Within eight short months, Andrew’s values, kindness and character became known around not just the football team, but the entire campus.
“Andrew’s story, however, is not defined by the date of his birth or by the date he passed. Rather, his story is stamped by his actions in between those times and his legacy that continues to thrive. There are no words that can do justice to the impact that Andrew Weishar has had on the lives of thousands.
“Upon hearing the news of diagnosis, and despite its life-changing and deadly reputation, Andrew welcomed the challenge as if it were just another opponent to defeat. Never complaining and always reassuring others of his refusal to give up — ‘I am not done fighting,’ he said so inspiringly in response to the hospital’s offer of hospice care.
“As more bad news rolled in, Andrew’s optimism grew exponentially. Throughout his battle, he was the one lifting spirits, bringing positive thoughts and enforcing determination. Even amid his pain, he remained the beacon of hope and inspiration, and he did this all with a smile on his face.
“Andrew’s time with us could not be a better blueprint of how to live. More than anything else, [he was] showing us how to live a life of faith, courage and strength, and how to live a life knowing that every day is a gift.
“Andrew’s story was shared from community to community, state to state, and even across the globe. His inspiration was felt by thousands as he fought for his life and taught life lessons greater than any amount of education can provide. Andrew exemplified what it means to live an optimistic life, with constant resilience and a positive attitude. He reminded us to never take for granted each of the blessings we have in our lives.
“We hope that Andrew’s example will forever thrive in the hearts of all who heard his story, and it is our plan to never let these lessons, his name or his legacy wither away with time. Even despite his situation, Andrew asked very little of his family and friends. However, the one request he asked of our family was to ‘pay forward’ the kindness, generosity and compassion that was shown to him and the entire Weishar Family.
“We hope that The Andrew Weishar Foundation fulfills his one wish and becomes a mechanism for doing just that: paying forward the incredible generosity in every way possible.”