If my Facebook page is any indication, I am blessed with a lot of friends. Some I knew in grade school, others were my cronies in college, and still others helped me navigate graduate school, my first real job, marriage, and the joys and perils of new motherhood. Some I talk to every day while others I touch base with once a year, at best. Each one holds a piece of my life story, no matter how big or small.
Mike Sweeney is a guy I knew in high school and college. He stands out to me as one of those friends who was always incredibly genuine, often hilarious, creative, and most of all, full of joy and hope in any circumstance. He and his wife Cabell are the kind of people you love to be around, who make you feel at ease with their self-deprecating humor and simple ability to be humble, silly, and just REAL. Those personality traits served them well, as we all volunteered for Young Life, a Christian outreach to high school students (who are all about keeping it real). Mike went on to work on staff for Young Life and continues sharing those gifts with everyone he meets.
Though I haven't kept in touch with Mike and Cabell very well, I was heartbroken to learn last year that Mike is battling stage IV cancer at 34 years old. He's reached a critical juncture in his treatment and needs help. He's my friend, and you're my friends, so I'm hoping you'll join me in helping him...
Here's the story:
In 2004, Mike was diagnosed with melanoma. A mole on his back became suspicious, and was determined to be cancerous. Through surgery, both the mole and some lymph nodes were removed, and Mike was cancer free. For four years, he had quarterly checkups.
In early September 2008, Mike was experiencing abdominal pain. After ruling out acid reflux, it was deemed a gall bladder problem. Surgery was performed, but it was discovered that a cancerous tumor next to the gall bladder was the problem.
The cancer had returned. Mike was diagnosed with Stage IV Metastatic Melanoma. Thankfully, the cancer has not spread to the lungs or brain. However, there are other cancerous masses on Mike's small intestine, in his armpit, and shoulder area.
Mike's been undergoing extensive treatment for the past year, and while there has been some hopeful results in some areas, nothing they've tried has been successful. (You can read about his journey here.)
HOW WE CAN HELP:
The doctors' last hope for curing Mike is something called TIL therapy...a $200,000 treatment that insurance will not cover. Before they'll even BEGIN the treatment, the hospital requires a 60% payment UP FRONT.
The sooner he can raise that money, the sooner he can start this potentially life-saving treatment. There's no time to waste.
I know there are a lot of "causes" out there, Internet friends. A lot of people in need. But I'm hoping you'll join me in donating to this one....maybe give up buying lattes for a week or two to help save Mike. Seems like a small sacrifice, doesn't it??
Donations are being accepted through Helping Hands Ministry, an IRS approved 501-C(3) non-profit that acts as a receiver and distributor of charitable gifts to people in need.
If you'd like to send a check:
Make all checks payable to Helping Hands Ministries, Inc.
In the Memo section of your check, please write "The Mike Sweeney Medical Project."
Helping Hands Ministries, Inc.
135 Main Street
PO Box 337
Tallulah Falls, GA 30573
If you would like to give via credit card, call Helping Hands @ 706-754-6884.
Trust that your donation information will be confidential. Helping Hands will receipt you directly.
Even if you can't give money right now, I know Mike and Cabell welcome any prayers and help spreading the word. Please feel free to link to this blog entry or to Mike's CaringBridge page.