Life is a gift….
Mike is on a cancer journey that began in May of 2011 when he was diagnosed with lung cancer. His cancer was advanced so there was no option for surgery but rather a year of chemotherapy treatments. When Mike was diagnosed he and his wife were living in Connecticut running a business. As treatments continued, they began to take a physical and mental toll on Mike and he had to sell his business. He and his wife moved to Cleveland to be with their daughter.
Mike started coming to The Gathering Place about six months ago. He was aware of a similar organization when he lived in Connecticut called Ann’s Place and searched for something like it in Northeast Ohio. Every week Mike attends a support group for individuals with cancer. Mike says, “the group members share a very special bond. It’s something that you really can’t describe. When you come to the group you’re reminded that you’re not alone, you’re not the only one going through this.” For Mike, the group helps in challenging times, like this past September when tests showed he had new tumors. Mike underwent radiation and is looking forward to scans in December to see how the treatments worked.
Within a short period of time, Mike has experienced significant change in his life. When asked how he was coping he shared that he and his wife were doing better than he imagined they would. He states, “You know, before all this happened I would have thought that such news would make me fall to pieces. But I haven’t. I’m learning that most of what happens in life isn’t as big a deal as you think it is. I thought it would be such a big deal to close my business but it turns out that it wasn’t. It’s really about relationships and connections.” Since closing his business and moving to Ohio Mike has been making the most of time with family and doing the things he likes to do. You can hear the love in his voice when he talks about how this time has helped him and his wife become closer than ever.
Mike believes in giving back and he’s been helping The Gathering Place educate nursing students about the impact of cancer on individuals and families. He expressed that participating in the fashion show at Beachwood Place this Saturday is a way for him to give back as well. As Mike was sharing this, his wife was in the background providing some additional commentary. He laughingly confessed that his wife suspected he was participating in the fashion show because of vanity. Mike admitted there might be a little bit of truth to that. If you take a look at the video from Fox 8 news where Mike makes his modeling debut you’ll see that he seems quite comfortable in the limelight.
When asked if he had any parting words to share he noted, “My wife and I have both come to recognize that life is a gift. It’s not permanent. What’s important is not the length of time but the quality.”