Nearly 14 years ago my baby brother Mike went to be with the Lord. His life was defined by his battle with colon cancer starting at age 10. During his life he touched countless numbers of people through his faith, determination and spirit.
I have always wanted to honor him but I have struggled with how do so. As I get older, I believe one of the best ways to honor him is through the memory of him. Therefore I have set up this site where we can share our stories of him.
Mike’s life was defined by pain and adversity. He was born on May 22, 1977 at a weight of around 3 lbs–premature by 2 months. During his early childhood he was always a very underweight and often frail little boy. Being just 10 months older then him, I was always around twice his weight (Even before I got fat). As a kid, I was always annoyed that he always wanted to do what I did and follow me around. I now am honored that he did!
Mike did many of the same things I did: Cub Scouts, Soccer, Boy Scouts, etc. He never did seem interested in those things and while I excelled, he just did his own thing. (I remember my dad yelling at him for playing in the grass instead of playing defense during a soccer game–he was picking dandelions)
His “normal” life changed in September of 1987. During a trip to Michigan with my grandfather in September, they discovered blood in his stool. A week later he was at Hancock Memorial Hospital and scheduling surgery. (Please forgive my ignorance–I was 11 and am fuzzy on many of the things that happened at this time) Most of what I remember now is coming home from school and finding my dad alone in the house crying. He took me to the hospital and I was told that there was less than a 25% chance that he would live a year.
The “First” Year
The next year is a blur to me. I remember his surgery and my family packing up 1 week out of every month for 12 months to to Riley for treatment. (I was typically left at home to care for the house, dog, etc) It was a rough year but I grew closer to Mike during this time. We got through it and thought the worst of it (we thought).
I will discuss in more detail in future posts but the story covers about 14 more years.