POLAND, Ohio — We've learned a lot since we first met 6-year-old Andrew Codner two and a half years ago.
He's joyfully explained his love of "The Avengers" and "Ghostbusters" to us in our conversations. But it's not just about the things that have made us laugh or smile about Andrew; he's taught us all about courage in the face of his cancer battle.
In fact, he inspired his own dad to run the Akron Marathon (twice) in the name of kids fighting cancer at Akron Children's Hospital.
This pandemic has been difficult on everyone, but imagine the anxiety of having a 6-year-old cancer warrior heading back to school.
"We were super excited to finally be able to send Andrew to school in person, to meet with his class," Andrew's mom Tristan said. "They were so excited to meet him, finally. He was fully vaccinated at that point, so we were able to send him in.
"But then he had about three days of school and caught a stomach bug. We had a couple visits to the ER because when kids that have ports spike a fever, they have to be seen right away to get an antibiotic."
Thankfully, Andrew pulled through. He recovered just in time for the holidays, but celebrations looked different this year.
"It was, you know, definitely disheartening," dad Kolt admitted. "We were hoping to have folks over for Christmas Eve — you know, small, just our immediate family. We did not do that.
"Then, Andrew's birthday was the 26th, so the day after Christmas. We were hopeful that was going to be more of a normal birthday celebration, but it was just the three of us."
The three of them continue to inspire one another, holding on to each other through the toughest times. And Andrew's parents? They continue to draw strength from his resilience.
"It's been amazing watching him march into clinic, march into getting a finger poke or his appointment knowing he's going to having anesthesia," Tristan said. "He's able to handle it so well, you know? Better than us on most days."
They're getting through this, thanks to support from family, friends, and health heroes.
"The people in Akron Children's have done such an amazing job taking what is a scary thing and making it seem like just a normal fun thing," Kolt told us. "They sit and they talk with him and they joke with him."
Big things are happening this fall: In September, Andrew's due to finish cancer treatment. The moment crosses the minds of his parents often, along with what it will represent.
"Complete joy of everything that we've gone through," Tristan said. "To finally get through two and a half hard years of treatment will be amazing."
To honor his journey, Andrew's dad will go the distance again at the Akron Marathon, only this time he's bringing back up: He and Tristan will run it together, in a relay.
"I think it's just a great example of the marathon we've run the last two and a half years together," Kolt added.