IMAGINE……. the year is 1960……..your name is Pierre. You are thirteen years old, an athletic, physically strong, mentally inquisitive young boy flying from your home in Kapa`a, Kaua`i to Honolulu for your first year as a seventh grade student at the Kamehameha Schools. Your first few months at Kamehameha are great, everything a boy could dream of…..playing sports, running around the campus, meeting new friends, doing very well in your studies. Then halfway through your school year, something terrible happens….something called Gillian Barré…you can’t even pronounce it and really don’t know what it is but a paralysis begins to infiltrate your body…..you can’t walk and you are confined to bed in the school infirmary for the remainder of the school year……..then you are told that a partial paralysis in your lower body will remain with you for as long as you live. You may walk again but probably not run so your dreams of being the next great Kamehameha football star vanish and you aren’t sure of even having a “normal” life. Replacing your dreams comes the pain, the fears, the frustrations, the feeling of loss, even perhaps the thought of just giving it all up BUT………dear reader: sit back please and let me tell you about one of the most fascinating people I could ever hope to meet……
Young Pierre had to learn to walk again and he did. He returned to Kamehameha, graduating in 1965. He decided early on that while he might have lost his mobility, he still had what he considered his strengths: his mind and his determination! He worked harder than anyone in everything he did. He couldn’t play ball so he joined the rifle team (Hawaii State Champions during his time)! He had excellent grades and decided he wanted to go to college where there was snow (but not too far away from Hawaii) so he applied to three schools in the Pacific NW, vowing to take the first school that offered him a scholarship, which turned out to be Eastern Washington University in Cheney, WA. Ironically his second offer was from the more prestigious Gonzaga University but Pierre was a man of his word and enrolled at Eastern. While at Eastern, Pierre worked hard building his upper body strength and so impressed people that the Gymnastic Team coach asked Pierre to turn out for the team. Pierre says he wasn’t very good but he earned a varsity letter.
Pierre had no idea what to major in so he and new friend Rob Richey decided to go for a medical technician degree. Pierre finished with the highest grade in the course (higher than the Pre-Med students in the class) so the counselor convinced Pierre he should become a doctor. The University of Hawaii had just opened up their Medical School so Pierre (and wife Susan Weber Andrade of Bremerton whom he met at Eastern) went back to Hawaii ! To help make ends meet, Pierre joined the US Army ROTC program so they would pay for his schooling. He still could not run but was allowed to substitute swimming for the running requirements. To make a long story short: Pierre completed his medical training, became a doctor and was inducted into the US Army as a Lieutenant in 1970 and served 22 years on ACTIVE DUTY before retiring as a Colonel in 1992!
My Profile guest this month is Dr. W. PIERRE ANDRADE! I knew that Dr. Andrade was one of the leading Allergist/Asthma specialists in Washington State and wanted him to be my Profile guest because Hano (asthma) is such a prevalent disease among Hawaiians. It was only after I started interviewing him that I realized what an extraordinary man this was. Much more than his expertise in treating Hano and allergies, here was a man who was told that he could never live a “normal” life so he chose to live a life far beyond the expectations people had for him. His hobby? Motorcycles…and dirt bikes….and Moto Cross (where folks on motorcycles run full speed around a track jumping over good sized bumps.) Pierre does Moto Cross with his brothers Kimo and Paul, nephew Cyrus and good friend Rick Hurst when those guys come over from Hawaii as they will on August 12, 2005 when the American Historic/Vintage Moto Cross race will be held in Chehalis, WA. Pierre likes to play racquet ball (he can’t run well enough to play singles but he is a great doubles player)! Pierre and his wife Susan have two children (21-year-old son Joshua and 24-year-old hanai (adopted) daughter Noell Kalia.) Pierre ’s father Larry Andrade was a well-known State of Hawaii Liquor Inspector on Kauai . One of Pierre ’s brothers is Carlos Andrade, a professor of Hawaiian History and Language at the U. of Hawaii . Carlos’ passion is music (he is part of the Taj Mahal group) and Carlos wrote the popular Hawaiian tunes “Hula Lady” and “Moonlight Lady.”
Dr Pierre Andrade and his partner Dr James Stuart Brown own/operate the “Asthma & Allergies Specialties Services” clinics in Washington State . Dr Pierre’s advice to asthma/allergy sufferers is get physically fit so your lungs and your body can combat diseases better…and he says today’s medications are so much more effective and safer and often the best recourse for fighting asthma/allergies.
There are a thousand more Dr Pierre stories that could be told. He walks with a slight but noticeable limp but Dr Pierre Andrade has proved beyond doubt that it is possible to make miracles happen for ourselves… if we dare! From that thirteen year old partially paralyzed boy to rifle team shooter to outstanding student to gymnast to Doctor to US Army Colonel to Moto Cross rider……Dr Pierre Andrade, mahalo for being a truly outstanding role model.
Until next time….be kind to each other…….me ke Aloha pumehana…………Danny