The Purdue University freshman was killed when a van rolled over on the way to a hockey game in Illinois.
As a freshman at Richfield's Academy of Holy Angels, Andrew T. Jackson tried out for the hockey team even though he was weak from chemotherapy.
The Chan-hassen teen, who survived Hodgkin's lymphoma and as a younger child needed surgery to save his hearing, didn't make the team, but he never gave up on hockey.
As a freshman at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind., Jackson, 18, recently had celebrated making the hockey club as a defenseman.
On Saturday, about 10 minutes after the club headed out for a game in Danville, Ill., the van Jackson was riding in hit a patch of ice and rolled over. He was killed almost instantly.
The accident, about 3:45 p.m. Saturday, was one of dozens in the area after freezing rain coated roads with ice.
Seven hockey club members were injured, including two other Minnesota natives, according to Purdue. All were treated at a hospital and released. They included Minnesotans Anthony Finnestad, 24, of Marshall, and Kurt Radermacher, 20, of Chaska.
Jackson's sister, Nicole, 21, said the game against Holy Cross College of South Bend, Ind., would have been Andrew's last of the season before finals. He would have visited home in two weeks.
"He had so many trials in his life. He had to go through so many obstacles," she said. "And then to get cut off like this."
Her brother was fiercely loyal to his friends and always helpful, she said.
His aunt, Therese Lockwood of Richfield, said Jackson always kept a positive attitude despite his hardships.
After a summer of chemotherapy rendered him too weak to join the team at Holy Angels, he joined the St. Paul East Side "Wessy's Boys" hockey club, she said.
"Whether they won or lost, Andrew always had a funny remark and a smile when he came off the ice," Lockwood said.
His games brought the family together, she said. His parents would bring signs and cheer with his aunts and uncles.
"He played hockey since he could walk," she said. "We were so excited when he got on the [Purdue] team because we knew [hockey] had been such a stabilizing foundation his whole life."
Lockwood said the family has heard little about the accident, which happened 5 miles north of Wingate, Ind., on Hwy. 25.
One of the club members who was injured was driving the van, said Jeanne Norberg, a Purdue spokeswoman. Norberg did not say which student was driving but said that the van belonged to the university and that any student with a driver's license is allowed to drive a university vehicle.
Indiana public safety officials are investigating the accident, but calls Sunday night were not immediately returned.
In addition to his sister and aunt, Jackson is survived by his parents, Timothy and Hope. The family has made preliminary plans to hold the funeral at St. Hubert's Catholic Church in Chanhassen.
Courtney Blanchard • 612-673-4921