KATY MAGAZINE NEWS
April 18, 2023
By Natalie Cook Clark
A Katy family dedicates themselves to raising awareness of Childhood cancer after their 4-year-old son lost his battle with Leukemia. The Katy community rallies to support the Drews family ahead of Lucas’s Celebration of Life.
Maria, Lucas, John and Jacob Drews. All photos are courtesy of the Drews family.
Lucas Nathan Drews
Lucas Nathan Drews passed away on April 14, 2023 at the age of 4-years-old after courageously fighting Leukemia for over three years. Katy Magazine followed Lucas’s story and featured him in 2020 during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.
“Lucas was a courageous, happy, and energetic boy who was always ready to play,” says Lucas's mom and dad, Maria and John Drews.
Lucas’s Brave Fight
When Lucas was eight months old, the Drews noticed a small puffiness on his right temple.
“He was always on the move, so we thought that he had hit it on something,” says Maria.
Still they brought the spot to the attention of their pediatrician at Lucas’ 9-month checkup. From there they were sent to a plastic surgeon at Texas Children’s Hospital, but the doctor was unable to determine what the mass was from the ultrasound. The Drews scheduled a biopsy, but before the appointment, Lucas developed a fever and breathing problems.
On May 1, 2019 Lucas was admitted into Texas Children’s Hospital.
“John and I thought we would be at the hospital for half a day for the procedure,” explains Maria.
That half a day turned into a 31-day stay. The doctors found that the mass was protruding towards Lucas’s brain and he was admitted for observation on the general medical floor. Over the next several hours, the Drews met with neurosurgeons, ophthalmologists, and then finally oncologists.
A Rare Form of Leukemia
Lucas was diagnosed with an extremely rare form of leukemia, AMKL.
The mass on his head was a chloroma, or a cluster of leukemia cells. AMKL is an aggressive form of leukemia mostly seen in children with Down syndrome, which Lucas does not have.
The Drews family with all Grandparents at Walt Disney World for Lucas's Make A Wish trip.
“The medical community is really spilt on how to treat this, especially in individuals without Down syndrome,” explains Maria.
Lucas’s battle often kept the family apart as he spent a lot of time in the hospital, had two bone marrow transplants, and spent time last summer in St. Louis for a clinical trial. The Drews are thankful for all the love and support that they have received from family, friends, and the Katy community.
“Through Lucas’s situation, we learned how much good there is in the world,” says Maria. “We had family, friends and strangers offering prayers and support throughout Lucas’s 4-year battle with cancer.”
Honoring Lucas Through Service and Awareness
The Drews want to honor Lucas’s memory through blood drives and donating platelets in his honor.
“Lucas was receiving blood and platelet transfusions almost every other day,” says John. “We also want to help support other cancer families and help to raise awareness and funds for childhood cancer.”
After the Drews spoke to Lucas’s doctors for guidance, they picked three different charities for people to donate to in Lucas’s name; St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the Leukemia and Lymphoma society and the Ronald McDonald House Charities.
Lucas and John Drews
“We want to help raise awareness and support so hopefully cures can be found for these cancers and these children can have a future,” says Maria.
When Lucas was in St. Louis for a clinical trial, the Ronald McDonald House helped them so much by providing them with a place to stay. They also provided meals and transportation for the family.
“Lucas taught us how precious life is,” says Maria. “No matter what he was going through, he found a way to smile and laugh. We learned how important family is and things that might have seemed like a huge deal at one time, really didn’t matter as much.”
Celebration of Life
The community is invited to celebrate Lucas’s life on Saturday, April 29, 2023 at 2:00 p.m. at St. Peter’s United Methodist Church (20775 Kingsland Blvd.) A reception will follow where families will leave with bubbles to release in memory of Lucas. The family requests that those in attendance wear a color that makes them happy and to pick up a yellow ribbon to wear in honor of Lucas’s brave fight with childhood cancer.
“Lucas you were the bravest and happiest little boy who made this world a better place because you were in it,” says Pastor Whitney Peper, who has served the Drews family through prayer and friendship. “You showed countless people how to have strength and be brave in the hardest battles. And I will remember how you fought cancer with such strength and fierceness, even doing it in one of your classic Lucas poses of hanging upside down whenever you could.”
Maria, Lucas and Jacob Drews
Lucas is survived by his parents, John and Maria Drews of Katy; brother, Jacob Drews of Katy; grandparents, Diane Drews and her husband Jerry of Spring, Cathy Nietling and her husband Rick Kline of Denison, and Dennis Nietling and his wife Regina of Denison, great grandparents Ralph and Letha Terrell of Calera, Ok; as well as many aunts and uncles and his beloved pets, Buddy and Lola, and many friends.
"I loved playing with Lucas and always seeing him my shadow," says Jacob Drews.
“Lucas was a wonderful friend so I will always remember him,” says Lucas’s friend, Alexander “Zippy” Clark. “We both loved cars!”
The Drews want other Katy families with a child fighting cancer to know that they are not alone.
“Do not be afraid to ask questions,” says Maria. “You are your child’s advocate. Accept help when it is offered. This was one of the harder things for John and I, but we were so grateful for all of the help we received.”