Friday, September 14, 2012

Go Gold: Michael's Journey

I've said it so many times; but the amazing thing about fighting cancer is the army fighting along with you. I connected with Laura via the family services coordinator Shirley at Alex's Lemonade Stand. 

Laura kept a journal through out her son Michael's treatment and then published it as a book. It is an amazing piece of writing--one that tells the story through a mother's eyes.

Here is an excerpt of Michael's Journey. To read more and get your own copy of the book, you can go to: 

On June 11, 2004 myself and my son, Michael, a perfectly healthy looking young teenager, participates in a walk for the American Cancer Society.  Hours later he is fighting for his life in an emergency room as doctors try to stop the bleeding from a brain hemorrhage that could kill him.

“Michael’s Journey” is the compelling true story of cancer survival based on a journal I kept.  I candidly share the pain and perseverance our family experienced during this difficult time.  Michael’s inspirational story focuses on the emotional reality of childhood cancer and his courage and will to survive.

June 17, 2004

Although Michael is progressing, we still don’t know if there is any brain damage.  There is so much uncertainty.  There are so many questions.  Michael is an excellent student.  Has his intelligence been affected?  What about his senses?  Will his eyesight be affected?  Will his motor skills come back?  We don’t really know much about the tumor yet, either.  Is it cancerous?  What type of treatment will Michael need in the future?  Will there be more operations?  There are so many questions.  There are so many scenarios running through my mind.  Some of them are so frightening.  What will the future be like for Michael and our family?  We will hopefully know more in a few days.

July 2, 2004

Michael and I share new challenges.  His physical abilities are being evaluated, and he is fitted for a wheelchair.  The wheelchair he receives is custom-made for Michael and has a headrest.  It really doesn’t look too comfortable, and it will be interesting to hear what Michael thinks when he starts speaking.  Michael still can’t sit up and can’t hold his head up by himself.  He has to be tied to the chair and has straps around his head and chest area.  It was a shock to see him the first time.  He looks completely incapacitated.  The reality of his condition is difficult to accept.  Why does Michael look a lot worse in the chair?  I want to make it better.  Will Michael ever recover from this?  I will be here for him as long as it takes.

July 11, 2004

The day we have all been waiting for is finally here!  Michael speaks and says “Mom” in a whisper.  I am so excited!  I can’t believe it.  I have to admit that I was so scared at times, not knowing if I would ever hear his voice again.  “Mom!”  It’s music to my ears, and I just want to hear it over and over again.  I will never complain again.  The entire family is elated.  Of course, Rich thinks he should have said “Dad”, since he has been coaching Michael to say it.  Let him say “Mom”.  I want to hear Michael say “Mom” over and over again.  I can’t wait to hear what else he has to say.  I hope he can share what he has been experiencing the past few weeks, but I don’t want to rush him, and the news gets better.  Michael is eating more pudding.  He wants more food.  The speech therapist is making him say “More” in between bites.  Michael would always ask for “more” food before he got sick.


Michael fought his way back. His dream was to graduate with his class and walk across the stage to get his diploma. On June 12, 2009, on the fifth anniversary of that fateful night, Michael received his diploma on stage and is cancer free today. Michael graduated from Rhode Island College in May of this year, a year early with a double major in political science and public administration and a minor in history.  He now attends Roger Williams Law School and has just been elected Class Representative.  Although Michael continues to use a walker, he certainly doesn’t let that stop him and is an inspiration to everyone who knows him.

To Learn More, please visit….

Laura Hartley (Michael’s Mom)

Please share Michael's Journey.


Go Gold for September and read about Michael's Journey through cancer and back. #braintumor #CCAM #childhoodcancer @trinitasyoga

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