Who is Michael?
“MICHAEL DIED TRAGICALLY SUNDAY, JAN 4TH, 2015. HE DIED WHILE DOING WHAT HE LOVED – RUNNING. MAY HE REST IN PEACE. MAY HIS MEMORY LIVE FOREVER!!!”
Michael was born July 12, 1989 at St. Francis Hospital and Medical Center in Hartford, CT. He arrived here on earth a little too early, about 4 weeks early to be exact and weighed only 4.5 pounds. With his first breath he fought and prevailed. Even at birth he manifested strength and determination to overcome any challenge. After spending 10 days in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit he was brought to his home in Torrington, CT where for most of his life he resided until his death.
Michael was a very active little boy, enjoying what most toddlers do – running, Sesame Street, Raffi and other childhood activities. At a young age, he became interested in video games – for the challenge, always determined to “win the game”. It was a theme that directed his life at all ages.
He attended Torrington Preschool from ages 3-5, then was educated elementarily at St. Peter School until he entered high school. While at St. Peter, lifelong friendships began and developed. Michael also exhibited his love for animals as a young boy, particularly cats who in turn gravitated toward him. Growing up with 2 or 3 cats at all times, one could always find at least one sleeping on his bed with him. Michael displayed his serious side as a child, always focusing on his schoolwork. He strived to achieve the best grades, always being named to the honor roll.
He enjoyed playing Little League baseball and was known for his quickness and stealing bases. His slight and small stature allowed for this.
While at St. Peter, Michael began to grow spiritually, offering his time as an altar server at Sunday mass and participating in religious activities.
After graduating from St. Peter, Michael attended St. Paul Catholic High School in Bristol, CT. Many of his classmates from St. Peter joined him, but he added more lifelong friends during his 4 years at St. Paul’s. During the summer between freshman and sophomore year, Michael discovered distance running. He joined the cross country and indoor and outdoor track teams. He embraced the challenge of distance and persevered to run farther and farther. Running complimented his academic achievements. He studied hard and focused on his schoolwork achieving honor roll status all 4 years. He graduated in the top ten of his class. Michael’s plans for his future began in high school, entertaining the possibility of becoming a doctor. He was fond of the sciences, particularly physics and decided he would, perhaps, pursue a degree in the field once he entered college. Again, Michael was perseverant in his aspirations to excel and benefitted from tutorial assistance during his junior and senior years to achieve an “A” in this very challenging subject of study. He prevailed!
During high school, Michael matured physically, mentally and emotionally. His faith in God grew also and he continued as an altar server and also as a lector during weekend masses.
Michael’s love of running grew and grew in high school. He constantly challenged himself to improve his times. Whenever he faltered, he would re-examine situations and vowed to work harder. This proved to be successful as he was presented the Father Robert Saunders Memorial Scholar Athlete Award numerous times during his junior and senior years.
Michael also began to recognize the need to extend himself to others in the forms of volunteerism and charity. While a junior he participated in his first half marathon in Boston to support the Jimmy Fund. His endeavor proved to be successful in completing the race in record time and raising over $2000 for the charity.
Michael graduated from St. Paul in 2007 and began studies at Fordham University in Bronx, NY that September. Living in the city proved to be another new and exciting experience for him, though difficult at times. He became very independent, again maturing more so emotionally and mentally. He enlisted a host of more life long friends and found his niche academically and socially. His plan was to major in physics and declared so at the end of his sophomore year only to re-examine his life that summer and redirect his studies toward premed.
Michael was a member of Fordham’s cross country and indoor/outdoor track teams. he experienced great joy and satisfaction while running. Academically he triumphed. He was recognized as a scholar-athlete every year while at Fordham. And, as when he was at St. Paul’s, he developed close relationships with his coach(es), offering constructive advice in his tactful manner with the hopes of improving the team’s performance. He considered his teammates to be part of his family and embrace then wholeheartedly. He would do anything to help them whether it be bettering personal race times or academically in the classroom.
Though quiet and reserved in appearance, Michael harbored the ability to make people laugh. He found comedy to be a great stress reducer for not only himself but for all those around him. He began to perform his routines at Fordham’s Campus Comedy Club. His ability to stand in front of a crowd at school led him to venues in New York’s East Side, one of many experiences Michael will be remembered for.
Michael graduated from Fordham in May 2012, Summa Cum Laude, with dual degrees in Physics and Biology. He was inducted into three National Honor Societies including Phi Beta Kappa and Alpha Sigma Nu. His change in major resulted in adding a 5th year to his academic curriculum. In addition to his studies and running, Michael was very active in student orientation and also served as a lector at weekly masses.
After graduation, Michael’s focus was admission to medical school. He was employed as a private tutor in the states of CT, NY and NJ. Aside from working, he devoted his time to studying for the MCAT exam, shadowing physicians who practiced in various areas and volunteering his time at soup kitchens, food pantries, homeless shelters, nursing homes and the hospital. Despite a very busy schedule, he always found time to run averaging 6-8 miles a day, sometimes more.
Michael was accepted to St. Louis University Medical School in Missouri October 10, 2014. How joyful he was. His hard work paid off!! His eager desire to become a physician was within his reach. His first official day as a medical student was to be Aug. 3rd – also known as “White Coat Day”. Up until his death he continued with his volunteer services and began to train for his first marathon – the Long Branch, NJ marathon to be held on April 26th.
Michael died tragically Sunday, Jan 4th, 2015. He died while doing what he loved – running. May he rest in peace. May his memory live forever!!!