About Our Founder
In March 2004, just after his 15th birthday, Michael “Mikey” Friedman, of Easton, CT, was diagnosed with a rare and aggressive form of cancer. Shortly thereafter, he began treatment at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City. Mikey endured two surgeries, seven rounds of chemotherapy, a stem cell transplant and radiation therapy, which caused his liver to fail. Fortunately, an experimental drug helped it regain function. Mikey had become all too familiar with prolonged stays in the hospital.
Mikey was in the hospital for weeks at a time for each of his surgeries and his liver failure, and the intensity of his chemotherapy necessitated prolonged stays on the inpatient ward. Through all the treatment, he found ways to take his mind off the monotony of treatment and the prospect of facing an uncertain future. Often too ill to get out of bed, he occupied himself by utilizing the latest electronics available to him.
Mikey was in remission for nine months, during which time he was offered one wish through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Most children opt for a trip to Disney World or a chance to meet their favorite entertainer, but Mikey wanted his wish to benefit those less fortunate than him.
Realizing that many families can’t afford the electronics that helped him through his treatment, Mikey decided to use his wish to start The Mikey’s Way Foundation. The purpose of the foundation is to better the lives of pediatric cancer patients, by creating meaningful diversions and connections to the outside world children are forced to leave behind. In a word—help them escape. We also help improve the child life facilities of the hospitals we serve. Mikey made his first distribution (Mikey’s Way Day) to Women and Children’s Hospital in Buffalo, New York in December 2005.
Sadly, Mikey lost his battle with cancer in October of 2008. He is deeply missed and always loved. His vision for Mikey’s Way continues and his legacy has only just begun.