March 14, 2014: Cure Mesothelioma: Michael’s Miracle 5K
May 21, 2013: Mesothelioma Patient Fundraiser for Michael
February 5, 2013: “Asbestos Has Changed My Life” – Michael’s Story
Posted on April 24, 2014
The Asbestos Disease Awareness Organization (ADAO) mourns the loss of our beloved Mesothelioma Warrior, Michael, who passed away today, April 24 2014, after a courageous battle with mesothelioma. Michael, a former student at North Metro Technical College, was from the state of Georgia. He is survived by his parents, grandparents and siblings. On February 1, 2014, Michael received the ADAO Special Recognition of Valor Award due to his extraordinary commitment to finding a cure for asbestos diseases and banning asbestos.
“It takes a brave and courageous man to open up his life and to share as you have,” said Dr. Richard Lemen, retired Assistant Surgeon General and ADAO Science Advisory Board co-chairman, in a message to Michael when he received his award.
Michael’s courage and perseverance throughout his illness were an inspiration to many and his story “Asbestos Has Changed My Life” is featured on ADAO’s website. Our ADAO community was deeply moved by his dedication to supporting fellow Mesothelioma Warriors around the world.
Michael’s spirit shined through in this blog posting, “Thank you God for helping me through the rough days so that I can enjoy the good days. … Thank you everyone for your prayers. Love you!! Have a good day.”
Last September, Michael entered a tuition giveaway competition. In keeping with his positive attitude, he was enthusiastic about college, and told his story, Cancer Changes Everything. “I was diagnosed with peritoneal mesothelioma cancer in February 2012 and was told that I would not make it three months. Well, I decided to fight with everything that I have,” he wrote. “Over a year has passed and after rigorous treatments I am still here. I now spend most of my time advocating against asbestos, which is what caused my cancer.”
ADAO grieves with Michael’s family and friends. The loss of Michael to mesothelioma, an entirely preventable and senseless disease, reinforces why we must have a global asbestos ban. We are eternally grateful to Michael for dedicating so much time at the end of his short life to advocate against asbestos. As we mourn, we must now continue that fight in his memory.
As Dr. Lemen said, “Michael, thank you for being who you are and for showing all of us how life’s most difficult challenges can be faced with courage and dignity. Your experiences will make a difference.”
In honor of Michael’s wish, mission, and dreams, I will fly out to Georgia on Friday in support of Michael’s Miracle 5K on April 26th.
View Michael’s 2014 Special Recognition of Valor Award Acceptance Speech Video: