“Cancer is like chess; it’s not over unless you have no more moves left in the game.”
The greatest privilege we have at Hope Strengthens Foundation is to support inspirational people across the nation as they battle illness, disability, or injury. We learn about personal stories of tragedy and triumph. By joining their fight, we are exposed to the intimacy of their struggles and the raw emotions of life and death that can test the human spirit.
This was especially true for our relationship with 12-year old Michael Scala who valiantly battled leukemia for three years before succumbing to the illness.
Hope Strengthens connected with Michael and his mom Michelle through our friend Tara White. Tara was volunteering at Boston Children’s Hospital where Michael was undergoing treatment. Michael’s positive attitude and kindness stood out to Tara. She also recognized the family’s struggle to keep up with the financial challenge of continuous medical care. Tara knew first-hand the support that Hope Strengthens could offer because she is a brain cancer survivor and one of our first beneficiaries.
Cancer not only took Michael’s life, it put Michelle in a position of great financial uncertainty. Michael endured chemotherapy, two bone marrow transplants, and clinical trials. Michelle never left Michael’s side as they both weathered extended stays in hospitals across Florida, Massachusetts, and Pennsylvania. As a result of her dedication to Michael, Michelle couldn’t work in the formal sense. She had a more important job to do: be a (single) mom to Michael and constantly comfort him while scouring the nation for options that would potentially extend Michael’s life in hopes of finding a cure.
Hope Strengthens Foundation was privileged to help with medical bills and transportation needs associated with Michael’s care. Michael once said, “Cancer is like chess; it’s not over unless you have no more moves left in the game.” Needless to say, we continue to be inspired by Michael’s strength and beautiful spirit.