In 1849 in Glasgow, Helen Walker, daughter of Thomas Walker and Margaret Boyd, married William McAndrew, a cabinet maker from Perth. The couple emigrated after their wedding and arrived via New York in Michigan in a roundabout way. No school in Michigan would admit McAndrew because she was a woman, and she traveled to New York to attend the New York Hydropathic and Hygienic Institute, where she received an M.D. When she returned to Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she was ostracized for being a woman. She only began to be accepted into the community when she saved a prominent citizen's life, though all other physicians at the time had given up. She subsequently established a private practice with a Sanatorium in her house. McAndrew was a leader of the push to admit women into the medicine department of University of Michigan, which succeeded in 1870. She, working with her husband participated in the Underground Railroad and the suffrage movement, working with several prominent leaders of both movements, including Elizabeth Cady Stanton and Susan B. Anthony. She was posthumously named Ypsilanti's "Most Distinguished Business and Professional Woman".