When Andrew and Sharria Westphal got married July 27, their wedding day was hectic.
“It was crazy, chaotic,” Sharria Westphal said as she sat with her arms wrapped around her husband’s elbow and smiled. “Everybody ran around.”
The Bowling Green couple found beauty in the chaos.
“It was gorgeous. It was fun,” Andrew Westphal said as he smiled at his bride.
The Westphals vowed on that day to stay together for better or for worse. Little did they know that they would be put to the test so soon.
On Sept. 12, Andrew Westphal, 26, was diagnosed with
a malignant stage IV brain tumor. The Westphals and Andrew Westphal’s mother, Denise Hopper, will soon go to the University of California at San Francisco for a consultation, take tests and see what needs to be done next.
“(His local neurosurgeon) assured me that this was the best option for us,” Andrew Westphal said. “There’s a really good chance that if they get most of it out I would have the best chance.”
The family knows the trip will be expensive.
Andrew Westphal’s older brothers and their wives helped launch a fundraiser last week on rally.org, a website where individuals, groups, social causes, schools and nonprofit organizations can raise funds. With the help of family, friends and strangers, the Westphals’ website had raised more than $35,000 as of press time – not bad for group that had a goal of $12,000, which it reached within 12 hours of launching the site.
“We got overwhelming support from people we haven’t even met,” Andrew Westphal said. “The words and prayers everybody has been offering, it’s like you’re wrapped up in it. We were virtually surrounded by a huge number of people who didn’t want us to hang our heads down and didn’t want us to be alone.”
The couple, who attend West End Church of Christ, agreed that although they don’t understand their situation, their faith is sustaining them through this crisis, giving them a sense of peace.
“We have a strong faith in God, and that has helped us get through it,” Sharria Westphal said.
That doesn’t mean that they haven’t felt human emotions, though.
“Obviously we have fear of the unknown. We’ve shared tears together,” Andrew Westphal said. “Right now we’re trying to take it one day at a time. We’re not going to be questioning God. We’re not going to be questioning our faith.”
Hopper said she is thankful to everybody for everything they have done for her son. “We’re lifting our voices up to God and asking him for Andrew’s healing,” she said.
— For more information or to make a donation, visit rally.org/andrewandsharriawestphal.