Meet Lynette: Giving Back

Her mission is to help other kids who are sick.


Lynette’s smile is captivating. Wise beyond her years, she has endured too much at such a young age. Yet her outlook on life is positive and upbeat. It is her bravery, her compassion and her love of life that inspires all who meet her.

At seven months of age, Lynette came to her family as a foster child. She won their hearts immediately and her family began what would become a very long adoption process. Lynette and her two siblings, also foster children who “never left”, settled into a happy family life. But when Lynette turned 8, she discovered skin lesions on her body and her happy life turned upside down. Surgery was needed and soon after she learned that she had Langerhans Cell Histiocytosis, a rare cancer that can damage tissue or cause lesions to form in the body. Lynette’s life became CAT scans, hospital visits, morphine pain drips and lengthy periods of loneliness and boredom during the long hours of treatment.

On one particular hospital stay, Lynette met Les Friedman during a Mikey’s Way Day. Lynette’s mom vividly remembers that day, “I didn’t know what to expect. I cried because it was so overwhelming. There were so many electronics on the cart, I just stood there and cried. I remember thinking, I have my daughter in the bed and he doesn’t have his son.” Lynette had the opportunity to select an electronic from the cart. Overwhelmed herself, she thought carefully before selecting an iPod Touch, the perfect device to help pass the long hours of boredom and isolation during her treatments. read more →

Hope In The Darkness – A Father’s Perspective

Excerpt from a father’s journal.



Here is an excerpt from Nate Beach’s journal entry in CaringBridge about his daughter, Ella.  It is one of many examples of Mikey’s vision coming to fruition.

Today we got a visit from a charity called Mikey’s Way.  This foundation was started by a very special boy who had cancer.  When the Make-A-Wish Foundation became involved in his case they asked where in the world her would like to go, which celebrity would he like to meet, what life altering event would he like to be a part of. His answer was incredible instead of doing any of those things he asked that a charitable foundation be made to buy children with cancer electronic devices to help them cope and distract them from the everyday difficulties of having cancer treatment. Today we met his father, who carries on his son’s wish by rolling a cart of electronic devices from laptops, tablets, game consoles, and iPods to each room on this floor with the simple request that each child pick something off the cart to keep. Through tear filled eyes, Mary and I were amazed to watch our shy and reserved little girl detach herself from her mom’s legs to give this gentleman a hug. It was truly a moment we will never forget and is difficult to even write about it.

The everyday challenges for pediatric cancer patients.

Portable, Wi-Fi ready electronics help overcome challenges for pediatric cancer patients.

A childhood cancer diagnosis and the treatment regimen that follows can be profoundly stressful, affecting all aspects of a child’s life. As a result, children and teens face enormous challenges trying to cope with the rigor, uncertainty and pain associated with long and grueling treatment. The challenges for pediatric cancer patients persist for the duration of treatment – on average about three years.  They include:

  • Isolation from friends, family and school.
  • Restrictions from their normal daily activities and social interactions including sport teams, dance classes, etc.
  • Loss of a sense of empowerment ie. not being able to make even the simplest of decisions for themselves (what to eat, what to wear, etc.)
  • Fear of an uncertain future, including the effect of treatment protocols that lie ahead.
  • Having to shuffle between treatments, doctor appointments and various medical facilities for an extended period of time, often over long distances.
  • Loss of a sense of normalcy in their lives.
  • Disruption in their normal psychosocial development.

 read more →

Mikey’s Way Childhood Cancer Heroes







A message from Les Friedman, Mikey’s Dad:

To those of us who knew and loved Mikey and to all those who have since been touched by his determination to make a difference in the lives of children with cancer, Mikey is indeed our hero.

Each day across the United States and around the globe, childhood heroes face life threating illnesses with the same grace, determination and strength that Mikey did.  These are the brothers, the sisters, the sons, daughters, relatives and friends of the people who love them as deeply and as profoundly as we love and cherish Mikey.

It is only fitting that we dedicate a blog category to recognize and honor some of the many childhood cancer heroes that we have had the honor and privilege to meet. They inspire us each day as we carry out the work that Mikey began.

Immunotherapy – new promise for some patients

According to the American Cancer Society, in the last 10 years, there’s been a lot of progress in the treatment of childhood cancers. Since the mid-1970s, survival rates have increased from 60% to 90% for certain cancers.

Many pediatric cancer patients respond well to standard treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation.  But for some children treatment stops working and for others, standard treatments are not effective, leaving few other treatment options for these children.

The good news is that the rapid developments in immunotherapy could offer great promise for many children battling cancer. Immunotherapy uses the body’s own immune system to recognize and attack cancer cells. read more →

Mind-Body Medicine

The implications of psychoneuroimmunology cover the length and breadth of medical research.

Over the last few decades, the prevalent links between neuroscience and the immune system have grown into an interdisciplinary area of study known as psychoneuroimmunology which explores the influence of the mind on the body’s immune system.

Research in the field of psychoneuroimmunology shows that stress and depression affect the body’s natural immune response to cancer as well as infections.**  The immune system plays a critical role in cancer incidence, progression, and quality of life. read more →

What I’d Tell A Parent Whose Child Has Been Diagnosed With Cancer.

Your role is to be your child’s voice.

by Les Friedman, Mikey’s Dad

When your child is diagnosed with cancer, you have to be his/her advocate. As a parent, your insight and intimate knowledge of your child are what make you the best possible advocate for him/her. Your role is to be your child’s voice.

There’s a certain number of children on the floor when your child’s in the hospital. Every child has needs and it’s not always easy to get what your child needs when your child needs it. I learned quickly that being a “squeaky wheel” is what got results. I asked, I nagged, I pushed –  I did whatever it took to get what Mikey needed when he needed it. read more →

What I Learned From My Child’s Battle With Cancer

When your child’s life is on the line everything else pales in comparison.

by Les Friedman, Mikey’s Dad

When Mikey was diagnosed with cancer, our world as we knew it stopped. Life became doctor appointments, the side effects of chemo, and the ever-looming possibility of an unexpected hospital admission. Meanwhile, regular life also marched on and what we considered normal became something else entirely.

I learned a lot of lessons from fathering through Mikey’s cancer. What’s important and what is not became crystal clear to me and most significantly I learned to live one day at a time. read more →

The Voice of a Pediatric Cancer Patient – Mikey’s Wisdom

Words of Wisdom For Patients and People Who Love Them

by Les Friedman, Mikey’s Dad

Mikey penned the bulk of his writing when he was 16 and 17. Two days after his 15th birthday, Mikey was diagnosed with cancer and began treatment shortly thereafter, so by the time he started writing, he was very well acquainted with the cancer treatment process.

Mikey was a fast learner.  He understood cancer, he understood life.  Although the youngest in the family, Mikey quickly became an old soul in a young body.  He had tremendous insight and wisdom.  He had an amazing ability to put into words what so many of us take for granted, don’t appreciate or just plain don’t see.  One couldn’t help but be touched by his unparalleled giving nature, his unique sense of humor or his uncanny understanding of life, particularly in the last two or three years of his life.

 read more →

Planting a Seed of Hope for Pediatric Cancer Patients

“Every choice we make is a seed”

Mikey’s words (at 16 years of age), his spirit and his attitude inspire us every day as we carry out the work that he began during his brief lifetime.  In his own words, he eloquently and profoundly captured what would ultimately reflect his legacy:

“The choices we make dictate the lives we lead” (author unknown).  We might wish and hope that the world will prosper and grow to be a better place, but if our choices fail to reflect this ambition, our intentions will be rendered irrelevant.  Every choice we make is a seed.  A consequence sprouts from each of these seeds.  Ultimately, the consequence stands as the only indicator that a choice was ever made.  As thunder trails lightening, consequence is the great betrayer of choice.  For this reason, our intentions can only manifest themselves through the consequences of the choices we make.  Mikey Friedman

The ripple effect and the intensity of the “choice” Mikey made to help children facing the emotional and physical hardships of long-term debilitating treatment resonates through all those touched by the very person that he was.

 read more →