Our mission at the Mikey's Way Foundation is to enrich the lives of children suffering from cancer and other life-threatening illnesses. The Foundation strives to help children face the emotional and physical hardships of long-term, debilitating treatment.
The Mikey's Way Foundation helps children cope with the emotional strain and isolation associated with prolonged and debilitating treatment for cancer and other life-threatening illnesses.
Michael Mikey Friedman founded the Mikeys Way Foundation in December of 2005. He had been going through his own treatment for a rare and aggressive form of childhood cancer. Early in his treatment, he realized that while the doctors were doing everything they could to help him physically, the long hours of treatment were taking their toll on him emotionally. He understood that the more he was able to distract himself, the better he tolerated the side effects chemotherapy. The more research he did, the more he understood how significant the mind-body connection could be in terms of the healing process.
Today, the Foundations goal is to connect every hospitalized, seriously ill child with his/her family, friends and school. We accomplish this with the use of todays technology the Internet, Wi-Fi, and Skype. Each child is allowed to pick an electronic gift that is best suited for them (i.e. Netbook, laptop computer, tablet, iPod touch, etc.). In establishing this connection, we are in fact creating a meaningful diversion that allows each child to escape Mikeys Way.
In 2004, just two days after his 15th birthday, Mikeys stomachache was diagnosed as a rare and aggressive form of pediatric cancer. For the next several years, he struggled through endless rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, surgeries and a stem cell transplant. Despite a frightening and uncertain future, Mikey was determined to make a difference in the lives of other kids with cancer.
When approached by the Make-A-Wish Foundation and offered the opportunity to go anywhere, buy anything or meet anyone, Mikey chose a shopping spree but not for himself. Instead, he bought interactive, handheld video games and electronics, and personally delivered them to sick children in desperate need of a way to escape the fear, boredom and isolation of their hospital beds. Having been greatly inspired by a weekly candy cart that circled his own hospital floor and generated much excitement, Mikey instituted Mikeys Way Days at hospitals all over the country using his Connection Cart to distribute these gifts directly to every child suffering the agony of cancer treatment. These gifts provided endless hours of mental stimulation and respite in the unfortunate and frightening world of treatment.
Mikey never looked back. In addition to the hundreds of children and many hospitals he has helped, he graduated valedictorian of his high school class and finished his freshman year at Harvard University. He appeared on behalf of the Mikeys Way Foundation in numerous national and regional television and newspaper interviews, including the Making A Difference series on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams. He was honored by the Boys & Girls Clubs of New Jersey as the 2006 Young Hero of the Year Award and named a Hometown Hero by the Connecticut State Legislature, which declared April 29, 2006 Mikeys Way Day.
Mikey passed away in October of 2008 at the age of 19. He experienced the power of his Foundation through the 17 Mikeys Way Days he was able to attend.