A 12-year-old Mississippi Coast boy died Monday after months of battling a rare and incurable brain tumor. Andre White’s fight against diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma, or DIPG, ended around 6 p.m., Harrison County Coroner Brian Switzer told the Sun Herald.
He was surrounded by family. Andre, who lived in Gulfport, was the son of Crystal Henry and Mark Andre White. He was one of several Coast children to be diagnosed with DIPG and fight for his life in the past year. At least five South Mississippi children have died from the DIPG since 2010. The cause of DIPG is unknown. It is a cancer so rare that it only affects around 300 to 400 children a year according to doctors.
Andre was a student at De Lisle Elementary in Pass Christian, where he is remembered by many classmates and teachers who have known him since kindergarten. “He was a good friend at school,” said De Lisle Elementary Principal Jonathan Beasley. “He had a good heart, didn’t get into any trouble, was a pleaser and always wanted to make sure that he was doing the right thing. We’ve got such an amazing school community at DeLisle, and he was one of those kids that really took it to heart… He didn’t talk a lot. He was kind of on the quiet side. But he was one of the quiet leaders.” Beasley told the Sun Herald that Andre was taught by teachers at De Lisle from kindergarten through fifth grade. Andre was set to move on to middle school after finishing fifth grade this year, but never got the chance.
After being diagnosed with DIPG on June 3, Andre began his treatment at the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson. “Everybody’s sad. It’s very tragic.” Beasley said. “He found out right after we got out for summer that he was sick. So there have been a lot of tears… It’s a hard time for everybody that knows Andre and his family.” Andre’s story was shared through a public Facebook group called Andre’s Army run by members of his family. Frequent updates about Andre’s condition were posted on the page by his mother, Crystal Henry. Posts were often met with an outpouring of support and prayers for Andre.
The visitation for family and friends will be on Tuesday, January 3, 2023 from 1:00pm until the funeral service at 2:00pm.
Riemann Family Funeral Home, 9113 Kiln Delisle Rd., Pass Christian is serving the family.