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4-year-old Andre Sanders battles cancer like a warrior

Cancer is never a diagnosis that is easy to deal with, especially for a child. Andre Sanders, 4, is a warrior battling a rare pediatric kidney cancer.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Andre Sanders may only be 4 years old, but he is smart and aware of his battle. 

"I have cancer, kidney cancer," he said with a smile.

So far he is winning in life.

Andre has stage three nephroblastoma, also known as Wilms tumor, a rare kidney cancer that primarily affects children. His diagnosis came around Labor day, shortly after the family had relocated to to Florida where his dad grew up, before moving to Buffalo to play football at the University at Buffalo.

When Hurricane Dorian hit, the Sanders family evacuated to Georgia. Out of the blue, Andre became ill. He had abdominal pain and was vomiting. His mother, an oncology nurse, knew something wasn't right.

Doctors removed the child's appendix and then delivered the bad news.

Andre's mom, Alexandra Sanders, fought tears during an interview with 2 On Your Side's Claudine Ewing.

"As a mom, you want to take it on for him," she said. "As a mom you want to do this for him, but you can't, this is what we call his battle that he is fighting which we are there for him through everything."

It was without hesitation that a decision was made to return to Buffalo.

"I had previously worked at Roswell Park as an oncology nurse and my first instinct was to bring him home to Buffalo when they were talking about six months of chemotherapy," Alexandra Sanders said.

He completed six weeks of chemo and has 27 more weeks to go, according to his mom.

"There are moments that we feel helpless, but you can't, he is 4-years-old, he can't do this on his own if he tried, so we have no choice but to be there," said his dad, Rich Sanders.

The Sanders family uses the motto Andre the Warrior to refer to their brave son. 

They also want to bring awareness to pediatric cancers. 

"More awareness needs to be put on to childhood cancer," said Alexandra Sanders. "There is an absolute need for funding for research for their survival. It's our goal in 2020 to establish a foundation to help other families that have been through a situation like ours."

On December 16 at 500 Pearl, Jordan Poyer and his wife Rachel Bush will hold an event Bowling with the Poyers and Friends. The Sanders say the event will help raise money for Andre's medical costs.

There is a gofundme account to assist the family with expenses.

"He is persevering, his spirit is amazing, his bravery and attitude through everything, a lot of our strength we honestly gather from our son and how he handles everything," said Alexandra Sanders.

The Sanders are appreciative for all of the help they’ve received so far from Western New York and beyond.

Last month Andre’s dad met Mike Fisher, husband of country superstar Carrie Underwood. He was in town for his wife’s concert and offered tickets to the parents. He learned about Andre and has been in contact from time to time with Rich Sanders to see how Andre is feeling.

Andre said he plans on "winning the battles."

The family can be contacted via social media on Twitter.

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