When Hartland High School sophomore Michael Anderson was re-diagnosed with cancer earlier this year, his mother Kathleen said that the “devastating” news was harder to hear the second time.
“The relapse was ten times harder than the initial diagnosis, because now we know,” Kathleen Anderson said.
In 2010, at the age of 14, Michael was diagnosed and underwent treatment for Rhabdomyoscarcom, a rare form cancer of the soft tissue, specifically the muscle.
After beating the odds, Michael was declared healthy and cancer-free until September, 2012.
Wiping away the stray tears, Anderson said that announcing the relapse to their friends and family was difficult and the community’s response was “quiet.”
“I felt like people didn’t know what to say,” Anderson said. “And I think it scared them. It scared us, so I know it scared other people.”
That is why, the mother of twin boys says she was “shocked” and “taken aback” when she received a call from Cathy Jones, owner of Kahuna Coffee, who informed her that her family would be the recipients of their annual Christmas ornament donations.
“The money is wonderful because it’s going to go towards medical expenses,” Anderson said. “But to know that we have so much support backing us and that people are thinking of us and praying for Michael, that’s comforting.”
The ornaments, which are handmade from an anonymous donor, raised more that $1,500 for the Anderson family, which was presented to them on Friday afternoon.
"When you see random acts of kindness and you’re a recipient of that, it’s just really cool," Anderson said.
Receiving his own handcrafted ornament, Michael, who is showing clean scans after two rounds of treatment, said he is grateful for the community’s support.
Calling his cancer-free results, a miracle, Anderson says she is thankful for the positive thoughts of her family and friends, as well as the thoughts and prayers of strangers.
“It’s always great to hear when someone you know is praying for him,” she said. “But when you hear that strangers are praying for him, it just renews your faith in humanity.”