Hinsdale Central student loses battle with cancer
Updated: August 6, 2012 6:44AM
HINSDALE — Hinsdale Central student Andrew Park lost his three-plus-years battle with cancer Saturday night.
Park was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia in March 2009; he was an eighth-grader at Clarendon Hills Middle School at that time. His initial treatment included a rigorous regimen of chemotherapy for seven months
“Everyone knew things were bad, but it never really hit me until much more recently just how bad it was for him,” said Nicky Relias, a Hinsdale Central senior who became friends with Park at CHMS. “Everybody really felt for him.”
Relias described Park as someone liked by everyone who knew him.
“Andrew always was a fun and happy guy,” he said. “There was never any drama with him. He was always very positive and fun to be around.”
CHMS Principal Griffin Sonntag also spoke very positively about Park.
“Andrew was a courageous young man who touched the lives of so many people during his time on earth,” Sonntag said. “He showed the Hinsdale Central, CHMS and The Lane School communities how one person can make such a huge difference in the world by fighting to live longer in it. He also taught so many people how precious life truly is and how to value every moment we are given. Andrew will be greatly missed by many, many people.”
Central Principal Michael McGrory sent the sad news about Park’s death to students, parents and community members Saturday evening.
In his email, McGrory encouraged parents to talk with their children.
“Learning of a death or experiencing the death of a peer or loved one impacts each student differently,” McGrory wrote. “Each student processes grief and responds differently – some respond immediately, while others may show signs of grief days, or weeks after the death occurred. Keep in mind that adolescents tend to act out feelings rather than verbalize or analyze what has happened. Look for changes in your student’s behavior. Only you know your child best.”
McGrory also wrote that students may exhibit the following signs: become angry or aggressive, ask questions surrounding death, be withdrawn or moody, sad or depressed, have difficulty sleeping, have a change in eating habits, be unable to focus or concentrate in school, and appear to be lethargic.
Counseling services are available for Central students through the Guidance Department, (630) 570-8253.
Funeral arrangements were pending as of Monday afternoon.