By Steve Svetovich
If you need an instant pickup for your day, just call Dunmore’s Tim Drewes.
Drewes, 26, former Dunmore football all-state defensive lineman who played in two state title games, has stage 3A metastatic testicular cancer and recently had 28 chemotherapy treatments.
But he doesn’t feel sorry for himself. He focuses only on the positive. The bottle is always half full to Tim Drewes.
“Every morning I get up and put one foot on the ground,” he said, “Just by doing that, I can climb a mountain.
“I try to put a positive spin on this. I see a lot of people who are worse off than me. I use my positivity to make them feel better. That makes it all worth it.
“When my two doctors got me in a room and informed me of this diagnosis, my immediate response was ‘let’s do this.’ They were surprised by my positive reaction, but there was no other choice for me.”
Son of Tom and Molly Drewes, Dunmore, Tim played in two state championship games for Dunmore in 2012 against Clariton and in 2014 against South Fayette, both losses. Cincinnati Bengals tight end Tyler Boyd played for Clariton.
“I have a picture of myself tackling him,” said Drewes. “We should have won one of those games.”
The former all-state lineman said he has plenty of supporters as he fights cancer.
“Bobby Judge was my position coach at Dunmore,” he said. “He also went through this very same cancer. He walked me through this and has been one of my biggest supporters. He checks on me daily.
“I was an assistant football coach under Kevin McHale for a few years at Dunmore. He has been very supportive. One of the only times I really broke down was when I told Kevin about my diagnosis. He was there for me.
“I was a clubhouse assistant for four years for the Scranton Wilkes-Barre RailRiders. I’ve met a lot of good people in the baseball world. One of my very best friends is Tyler Austin who played for the New York Yankees. He has been playing baseball in Japan. He’s been killing it there. Tyler also had testicular cancer. He’s been beating it. He checks on me all the time and texts me every day from Japan.
“My best friend is Johnny Barbato who pitched for the New York Yankees. He also checks on me all the time. I got to spend some time with him this past October during the World Series in Houston where he now lives. My parents were with me too. It was nice to be able to go there and hang out with him before starting chemotherapy.”
Drewes was diagnosed with testicular cancer this past September after dealing with pain since June. “Once the doctors came up with the diagnosis, I was ready to fight it head on,” he said.
Drewes enjoys photography which he finds therapeutic. “It’s my side hustle,” he said. “I do it as much as I possibly can.”
Drewes, who has a bachelor of science degree in Tourist and Hospitality Management from Temple University, said he contracted COVID-19 in the middle of his chemotherapy treatments. “It took a toll on my body, but I got through it.”
Drewes has always been involved in volunteering and supporting many Dunmore organizations and sports. He was a volunteer coach for Dunmore Bucks football and basketball.
He takes photos for many of the Dunmore sports organizations, including DGR soccer, Dunmore Little League, Saint Mary of Mount Carmel youth leagues, and all Dunmore High School sports.
His number 55 was retired by Dunmore High School in 2015. He was Mr. Dunmore at his senior class night.
Abigail Davis, Ph.D., physician assistant program director at Marywood University, is Drewe’s sister and also one of his big supporters. “Our family jokingly calls Tim a professional volunteer,” she said. “He has a full time job with Northeast Utilities in Dunmore and a side gig as a photographer. He is undoubtedly the most generous, kind, and thoughtful person I ever met. He is a loving brother, son, and uncle to his eight nieces and nephews. He is always there for us. For years he volunteered as Santa at the Country Day Nursery School. He made Christmas house calls for families in Dunmore.”
His sister told a story of Tim volunteering to help out at a cancer benefit, “Jamming for Gemma.” His sister, as cheerleading coach for Saint Mary of Mount Carmel, was supposed to coach the girls for the event, but came up with a stomach bug. “Tim did not hesitate to immediately step in. He coached the girls for me. With such positive energy, he was doing silly cheers with the girls. It was a big success.
“Tim has chosen to get his cancer treatments in Dunmore where he is most comfortable. He battles the illness with silent strength and immense positivity. He never asks for anything, but has so much support from family and friends. He continues to go to Dunmore sporting events and takes pictures which he shares freely with teams and families.
“Since his diagnosis, he constantly discusses how he can use his experience to help others. From planning to fundraise for cancer research, forming a foundation to assist other Dunmoreans battling cancer, to using his awareness about testicular cancer, he focuses on finding the best ways to help others. He is selfless to a fault and represents everything that’s good about Dunmore.”
Drewes, humble and gracious in nature, knows he is not fighting his cancer battle alone. “I always tell people from anywhere that if you are looking for a place to live, move to Dunmore,” he said.
“You have 12,000 people who are genuinely supporting you.”