Andrew Zweig was diagnosed with Stage IV prostate cancer when he was 50 years old. Known by friends and family as “Papa Z,” he was close to everyone he met and a dedicated father, husband, and friend.
He was the embodiment of a fierce lion, not afraid of anything and was always honorable. We were all his people.
Kevin Conroy met Andrew a year after he was diagnosed, when he started dating Andrew’s daughter. Andrew had had his prostate removed by then, and he didn’t want it to affect his life. He continued to work, work out, and felt strong all through his initial treatments.
It was in 2015 when he went to Israel with his wife that he first noticed lymphedema in his legs and spine, and started to feel too much pain to work through. This was the year that he opened up to his son-in-law, Kevin, about how bad his cancer really was.
The next year he visited St. Johns with his family and by that time the treatment regiment was noticeably affecting his life and work. He enrolled in several clinical trials because he wanted to help advance medicine and fight for treatments that would help not just him, but other men in the future. Other than these treatments, he wanted to live his life as normal as possible.
He didn’t want to scare his family. You had to be direct, ask him what he needed you to do so that he would let you help. We got very close – when someone needs help, that’s what you do for family.
Andrew’s treatment schedule began to increase as his cancer got worse, and Kevin accompanied him to his appointments and kept track of his notes so that he could share it with the family. He took notes and helped him explore clinical trials and other treatment solutions. It was a natural evolution then for Andrew and Kevin to develop an app. They worked on a platform that could help family communicate with clinical consultants and doctors for a variety of conditions, keep all of a patient’s doctors on the same page about various treatment paths, track all of their medication schedules, as well as a calendar integration so a patient or their caregiver could manage their appointments and visits.
The point of this isn’t so much about the app – it’s really to highlight how serious [Andrew] took his mission to try to eliminate cancer. He was a tech guy. He was a highly sought after consultant. He put everything he had into working towards his grandkids not fearing cancer. He said that all the time.
Andrew continued to work, and did so up until two weeks before he died at age 57.
I was probably the most prepared person in the whole family, for what happened. Because I needed to know what he needed from me, and he wasn’t going to tell me so I had to ask questions.
After he lost his battle, Andrew’s family got involved with ZERO, raising money for Grow & Give in November 2017. His family will also host the Ripple Run, a race at Rockland Lake State Park in New York on June 10, 2018.
He didn’t want people to worry about him, not when he spent his life fixing and worrying about other people’s problems. He dedicated his life and his body to experimental studies so that his grandkids wouldn’t know cancer. He fought for a cure for himself and his family. He fought so he could continue to live every day to the fullest. He lost his battle, but he left behind a legacy of giving.