Finding the Positive in Every Negative
Being empathetic, courageous, and confident gives me strength.
In January 2019, I was getting ready to graduate high school, playing in two bands while auditioning for a third, and eagerly awaiting my Eagle Scout ceremony.
By February, my life unexpectedly changed course. At 18 years old, I was diagnosed with a rare sarcoma, and began treatment at MSK.
The Staff Here Make All the Difference
I had surgery and then began seven cycles of chemotherapy in three-week increments. It wasn’t how I thought I would spend the last half of my senior year, but my family and caregivers at MSK helped to shift my perspective.
My family and I call my oncologist, Dr. Julia Glade Bender, a cancer slayer – the newest Avengers super hero. She doesn’t just see me as a patient, she sees me – Michael. Every day, my nurses, and TYA staff, make me feel like I’m their only focus, even though they have many patients to tend to.
Treatment is hard, but they make it better.
My Moment of Joy
MSK knows that teenagers aren’t little kids and they aren’t adults either. One of my favorite memories was from the MSK prom.
Everyone got dressed up in suits and dresses – all of the doctors, nurses, patients, and their families. We danced and we laughed. There was no cancer in the room that day.
The Power of Giving Back
When I think about what it means to raise money for pediatric cancer research, I think of people who are going through it like I am. Right now, I’m participating in a sarcoma research study, and I know how important funding is to making studies like mine possible. It’s the only way that they will discover the best treatment options.
It’s an honor to be named one of this year’s Stop & Shop ambassadors, but it’s also an opportunity to be the face of something bigger. By giving to MSK, you’re helping to save kids’ lives.
Reasons for Hope
My parents and I are grateful for simple moments like driving to my appointments together. We listen to phenomenal music and audio books. Sometimes we talk and sometimes we ride in silence. And the silence is just as meaningful as the conversation.
We’re confident in MSK, my doctors, and my treatment plan. Confidence is exactly what you need.
I couldn’t imagine getting treatment anywhere else.
Every year, Memorial Sloan Kettering collaborates with Stop & Shop supermarkets to raise awareness and funds for MSK Kids. Since 2001, Stop & Shop has partnered with MSK and raised more than $21 million for pediatric cancer research. Michael is one of this year’s Stop & Shop ambassadors.