Not only has Friends For Michael accomplished many things over the past 10 years, but Michael, himself, was a big part of the inspiration to continue our efforts. Michael went on to continue his college career at the University of Kentucky earning his Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism in 2004. He also was awarded UK’s Adelstein Award, given to students with disabilities who are an inspiration to others. He returned to school in the fall of 2004 to pursue his Masters degree and work as a reporter for the “Cat’s Pause”, a weekly print and online publication about the University of Kentucky sports programs. Michael was also an active member of the Phi Kappa Phi Fraternity.
On April 17, 2007, only two and a half weeks before time to receive his Master’s degree, Michael suddenly became ill, suffered a perforated ulcer and passed away within hours of the onset, leaving behind a legacy of his own. Just as Michael faced life with a vengeance, he also faced death with it as well.
Now, ten years later, lives have changed again. Michael’s death has left a void in the lives of many. But his strength, determination and his “never say never” attitude taught us all how to live. From the moment of his accident, Michael did not feel sorry for himself. He worried about those around him and how they were surviving it. His smile was one that people saw for miles and will remember forever. His will to live a full life, no matter what the obstacle, is something we all learned from him. Michael set an example like no other. What he accomplished in 27 years is more than most will accomplish in a full lifetime.
To keep Michael’s spirit alive, Friends For Michael will continue it’s efforts to help find a cure for spinal cord injury/disease, help others live a quality of life, provide spinal cord injury prevention and awareness, keep the importance of research in the fore front of the public and help others succeed in what they want in life.
Our newest project in the planning stages is to build a fully handicap accessible playground in the NEW community park being built in Henry County. This park will be accessible for all ages and will provide recreation and entertainment for the disabled and able bodied population. This facility will be centrally located for many individuals who would otherwise have to travel a hundred miles or more to have a place to enjoy. Needless to say, we will name this playground after Michael and Friends For Michael so people will remember the wonderful person Michael was, the many successes he accomplished and the goals he left behind for us to keep reaching for.
Please come and join us as we move forward to keep Michael's dreams and goals alive!