WHERE WE BEGAN
Over the last several years, the diagnosis of cancer has become more and more prevalent in our society. Firefighters are no exception. With the exposures and hazards involved in their profession, the number of firefighters with cancer continues to rise. In April of 2009, a firefighter by the name of Michael Williams was diagnosed with multiple myeloma, a type of bone marrow cancer. Michael spent several months in and out of the hospital receiving chemotherapy and radiation. While he had the support of friends and family, he could not wait to get out of town and "getaway from cancer." Once the treatment was complete, Michael and his daughter (then 8 years old) packed their things and left town for a week. It didn’t matter where they went, as long as they were together and it wasn’t to a hospital. Michael's intent was to not only to spend time with his daughter outside the hospital, but should things not go well, he knew she would have one last pleasant memory.
In September 2009, Michael was given the news that he was in complete remission. While celebrating the good news with his friends, he mentioned that the best thing that he did during the whole ordeal, was take the trip with his daughter. While just a passing thought, the idea behind Michael’s Memories was born. Michael's new passion is to help other firefighters in the same position to "getaway from cancer." He wants to reach out to find other firefighters that have cancer and allow them to take an all-expense paid vacation with their families. It doesn't matter where they go, he just wants them to be with the people that matter the most.
As time passed, Michael worked to refine his idea and come up with a plan on how to accomplish his goal. Michael knew what he wanted to do, but wasn't quite sure of the process. He spoke with many people including other organizational leaders, CPAs, and lawyers in order to make sure he was doing this right. In April 2011, what was once a thought, soon became reality. Michael officially filed the paperwork to create Michael's Memories. With his mission statement in hand, and a few friends to back him up, everything was falling into place. As of May 2011, Michael's Memories is an official organization working to raise money to fulfill our mission. While we still have a ways to go, Michael's Memories is on track to send two families on all-expense paid vacations this year. As time goes on, we hope to increase that number by spreading the word about our organization.