Mike is a born and raised Austinite and 4-time cancer survivor. After being diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia (AML) in 1995 at the age of 10, Mike would eventually endure two bone marrow transplants and more than 75 surgeries, including a 12.5-hour facial reconstruction. In March of 2000, physicians at M.D. Anderson Cancer Center successfully removed a bone cancer tumor and more than half of his lower jaw, replacing it with the fibula from his left leg. While the removal of the tumor increased Mike’s chances of living a long life, it all but eliminated his chance of returning to his passion for playing sports.
After years of chronic pain and a fear of the cancer returning, Mike eventually found comfort in a familiar place - the Austin Hike & Bike trail where he grew up riding and running. Eventually, he built up enough strength in his leg to attempt running once more. In June of 2009, Mike celebrated his cancer journey with a victory lap around Lake Tahoe at America’s Most Beautiful Bike Ride - with his bone marrow donor, Steve, riding by his side for 100 miles.
The trip around the heavenly lake was just the beginning. Mike would go on to complete the inaugural Ironman Texas triathlon event in 2011, the Ironman World Championship in Kona, Hawaii in 2012, and a successful summit of Mount Kilimanjaro - the world’s tallest free-standing mountain in Tanzania, Africa. For each athletic endeavor, Mike raised money for various cancer organizations, and would eventually turn his passion for giving back and knack for fundraising into a career.
Mike now serves as the Executive Director of the Front Row Foundation - focused on creating magical moments for individuals and families facing a life threatening illness.
Interested in hearing Mike’s story firsthand? Contact us for availability!