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Andrew Hardman
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Andrew 'Drew' Hardman, 26, of Escalon passed away on Thursday, Jan. 31, 2013, surrounded by family and friends.

The son of Michael Hardman of Ontario, Canada and Becky and Brian Head of Escalon, Drew, as he was known, was diagnosed with a rare disease in early childhood called Ataxia Telangiectasia.

Born on May 10, 1986, in Yorba Linda, California, Drew reached the milestones most take for granted. Once able to walk and run, he eventually used other ways to get around. Though his physical challenges were great, they failed to limit his spirit or the trust and kindness that defined his time here.

A student at Neil Hafley School in Manteca, and a 2005 graduate of Escalon High, he went on to Modesto Junior College. His workouts on land and in water at MJC helped him find something rare for a person with AT - more power, not less.

He loved horseback riding at Care-ousel Therapeutic Riding in Modesto, skiing with the Stanislaus Chapter of the Society for the Handicapped at Dodge Ridge, (where he once broke an unbreakable titanium ski) traveling with his family to Canada and England, visiting the White Wolf Sanctuary in Oregon, swimming and pumping iron at Modesto Junior College, flying over the Midwest in vintage aircraft, wading into the Mississippi River, peering into Hawaiian volcanoes from a helicopter, and watching the San Jose Sharks battle it out on the ice. At home, he could often be found in the company of his dogs, or riding his recumbent bike through the neighborhood.

Drew will be dearly missed.

Survivors include his parents; siblings Nicole Cox, Tyler Head and Bonnie Head; grandparents Charles and Mary Smith of Moraga, and Joe and Grace Head of Manteca; as well as many loving friends and family members.

He was preceded in death by his maternal grandmother, Bonnie Smith, and his uncle, Bud Bair. Bonnie and Bud were raised on Catalina Island, and Drew spent many summers there. On the island, he rose early and fished with his Uncle Buddy.

A memorial celebration is planned at 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Saron Lutheran Church, 1742 North Street, Escalon. A reception will follow.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made in Drew's name to Care-ousel Therapeutic Riding in Modesto or Society for Handicapped Children and Adults of Stanislaus County.

The Escalon (Calif.) Times

Feb. 6, 2013