The road warrior’s fire becomes emotional tears of joy when speaking about his girls—wife, Angie, and their daughter, Ellie. Mike’s terminal cancer diagnosis came ninety days after Angie accepted his marriage proposal. He offered her an out, “It was the last thing I wanted to do: burden this young woman with caring for a vegetable for the rest of her life. But she wouldn’t have anything to do with backing out.”
Why did Angie, whom Mike credits for his return to faith and re-baptism, stand by her acceptance of his proposal? “Because after four years of dating and knowing this is who God wants you to marry, you don’t back out. Nothing would have made me leave him,” she says.
“I would be dead without her,” said Mike. Two of his three brain surgeries occurred on their first and fifth wedding anniversaries.
Although they knew the chemo and radiation treatments meant having no children of their own, Angie did become pregnant. However, their unborn baby tested for severe Down syndrome. A “genetic counselor” tried to discuss termination options with them. They walked out of the clinic and prepared for raising their Down syndrome daughter.
After Ellie was delivered by the same doctor who had diagnosed her previously, he met with Mike, telling him: “She doesn’t have Down syndrome. I saw it a few weeks ago—this baby had it then. I can’t explain it.”
With tears rimming his eyes, Mike recounts his meeting with the doctor, “Ellie is my double miracle.”
The runner’s heart also races with anticipation for future ministry “in Colorado Springs where God has postured me.” Mike has a Master’s degree in theology, with a Christian apologetics emphasis, and deeply desires ministry to young Christians preparing to enter college. Citing Barna research of the nearly eighty percent dropout rate of Christians from their faith after college, Mike wants to drive down that number. “Most are rarely challenged to defend their faith, to articulate what they believe or why. It’s hard for some Christians to hear, but there are actually some well-reasoned objections to the Christian faith.”
And though Mike is “doing the only thing I ever wanted to do as a ‘rocket scientist,’” he also can’t wait to retire, “filling in the blanks of my life—traveling, teaching the Word, getting out the message that walking with God and cancer teaches you.”
“My cancer has made me a better son, husband, father, brother and friend. I’m a better everything because of the cancer. I can’t think of what I would be like now without having gone through it.”