After ‘failed’ transplant, Andrew Smith looking for a ‘miracle’


By Joseph Knoop

imageFormer Butler basketball star Andrew Smith, who grew up in Zionsville, has been facing the ups and downs of battling cancer for the last two years. On Dec. 7, his wife, Sam, wrote on their blog that a recent bone marrow transplant has “failed” and they “need a miracle.”

According to the blog update, Andrew’s cancer has grown increasingly aggressive, developing from lymphoma into leukemia, indicating that the cancer has spread throughout Andrew’s veins through his blood.

“Essentially, this vicious disease has chewed up and spit out every single drug and treatment we have tried in the past two years like it was nothing,” Sam stated in the blog.

One option still exists for the Smiths – finding a clinical study that may present Andrew, 25, with alternative treatments.

In the midst of their struggles, the couple has been urging people to sign up for the Bone Marrow Donor Registry in Andrew’s honor. Sam stated that two people who have done so have already been matched, including Andrew’s former Butler teammate, Emerson Kampen.

“We see the good and we are doing our best to focus our thoughts on that instead of the glaring, difficult reports that come in every day,” Sam said.

Sam’s final words in her blog outlined the couple’s wishes for prayers to provide healing, strength, “the perfect treatment option,” wisdom, and perspective.

“We don’t know why this is happening and why this battle never seems to end for us, but we so deeply, deeply appreciate the outpour of love and prayers covering us,” Sam stated in the blog at

Less than a year into their marriage, Andrew and Sam Smith were faced with the difficult reality of disease when Andrew was diagnosed with cancer while the two were living in Lithuania. Andrew, a key member of the Butler men’s basketball teams that made NCAA title game appearances in 2010 and 2011, was forced to postpone any dreams of professional sports to return home for treatment. A severe cardiac arrest later left Andrew legally dead for 22 minutes before being resuscitated. He completed successful rounds of chemotherapy, only to see his cancer return in May of this year.