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Andrew Rogers was given a week to live at 3 years old. Now cancer-free, he wants to make sure no child with cancer goes through it alone.  

In the weeks after Commencement, Andrew Rogers, a master's medical physics candidate, will begin looking for a place to live in Texas for his residency, take a family vacation to Alaska, and return to his hometown of Augusta, Georgia, to pack for his big move.  

But a busy travel schedule is nothing new for Rogers. Diagnosed with hepatoblastoma at the age of 3, he spent over a decade traveling between Augusta, Philadelphia, and Atlanta, with lengthy hospital stays in between, undergoing treatment for the rare childhood liver cancer.  

Given a prognosis with a "one-in-a-million" chance of survival, Rogers had two liver transplants before the cancer spread to his lungs and brain. In total, he endured 50 surgeries before his 13th birthday, and it was during the countless trips to Atlanta that he dreamed of two things — attending Georgia Tech and making a difference for kids facing similar struggles.  

Unlike chemotherapy or other procedures, Rogers found radiation therapy to be a painless experience, in part thanks to the radiation therapists administering the treatment.  

"They may not have thought much of it at the time, but in those moments, by playing with me, making me laugh, making me a Spiderman radiation mask, they helped me forget — even for a second — that I had cancer and helped me enjoy life. I think about that every day. I hope to one day change a child's life like my therapists did for me,” he said.  

Now 18 years cancer-free, Rogers earned a bachelor's degree in radiation therapy from Augusta University. A program director told him about Georgia Tech's medical physics program, and, since arriving at the Institute in 2021, he has sought hands-on experience in the field. Completing the clinical portion of the program through a partnership with the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, Rogers learned each role within the rotation.  

"From booting up machines and checking on patients to everything else, I just started wanting to come in every day. I'd go in for free just because I love what I'm doing," he said.  

Rogers wasn't immune to the stresses of everyday college life, but he approached them with a positive perspective.  

"My parents told me that there's always a light at the end of every tunnel, and it's always going to be worth it in the end. So, I will keep telling myself and everybody else that when they're going through a hard time, keep pushing,” he said. “Things may be painful and stressful now, but think about what you will achieve in the future and the people you will help get through battles of their own. That will always keep me motivated." 

Rogers isn't done with medical appointments, but with each yearly checkup, he never tires of hearing the words he hopes to deliver in his career: "All clear." 

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Andrew Rogers in the hospital with his dad by his side.
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