10,000 Hours of Giving

Hi! My name is Michelle Young. I am an 18-year-old student at University of Oklahoma, and a cancer survivor struggling with regaining my health.

My goal is to raise $100,000 for my college and medical expenses.

For each $10 contribution, I am committing one hour towards enriching our communities through contribution. That’s 10,000 Hours of Giving! Even small gifts can create a life changing impact. With your $10 donation, you can note the area of contribution you would like your gift to go towards: Animals, Education, Environment, Families, Health, Public Service (otherwise I will donate where there is a need).

Animals - a source of comfort and unconditional love for me - I would like all kids to have animals to love, and all animals to have kids to love!

Education - a passion sparked by my mom’s hands-on artistic teachings, further inspired by my time volunteering with Kindergartners in my hometown.

Environment - I have a love for meteorology, weather systems, climate, and the earth, and feel investing in the environment is an investment in our future.

Families - families are tested every day with death, divorce, and so much more. I think contributing to another family's happiness would be pretty great.

Health - getting healthy was my first step in determining my life path. Creating health awareness and well-being inspiration for others is important to me.

Public Service - a nod to my tremendous passion for the military, and a grown up version of my early memories of making cards for local service people.

The purpose of this project is to enrich local communities, stand for causes I am passionate about, create a widespread network of like-minded supporters, and help fund my higher education and medical expenses. The inspiration for this project is my mom, who taught me to always: strive to do my personal best, persevere through tough times, and ask for support in the face of adversity.

_____________________________

MY STORY:

I was born on September 13, 1999 in a small town in Upstate New York with just over 1000 people and no stoplights.

In my early years, my parents split up and at first I lived primarily with my mom. She was a doting and loving mom who loved my older sister and I deeply. She always made sure that my older sister and I were taken care of. We always had the necessities, and never noticed the times that she skipped a meal to ensure we were fed. Some of my fondest early childhood memories included storm-gazing and counting seconds between thunderclaps and spending Labor Day hand-making thank you posters for community policemen and firemen. I developed into a creative, giving, engaged and happy child.

At the age of five I stumbled upon my mom having a nearly fatal seizure, and learned an important life lesson about taking action in times of crisis. It wasn’t until two years later when I was living with my dad, that I came to know the full scope of health issues my brave mother had been struggling with: she had been dealing with depression and severe psychological side effects from her seizure medication. She passed away on her 33rd birthday. I was heartbroken. I never felt more alone - every night I curled up with my dogs and cried myself to sleep.

I realized I needed to heal, and determined the key to creating support for myself was through making a contribution to others. I volunteered in my community by stacking wood, raking yards, and participating in Kindergarten Student Aid. I reached out to relatives to see if I could lend a hand babysitting, and began helping out my grandparents. I realized I was healing. While I still missed her deeply, my life was beginning to get back on track.

I was increasingly motivated. I joined the soccer team and maintained a 95+ high school average. I got a part time cashier job and began saving money for college. I gave up fast food and began eating right and exercising daily, and lost 40 pounds. Life was good.

I also decided what I wanted to be when I grew up… a meteorologist! I found my dream school, with a stellar meteorology program: The University of Oklahoma.

I began an application for an NROTC scholarship, which would completely pay for my tuition at Oklahoma, and also fulfill another goal to become a member of the United States Military, like my father and grandfather. One month later, I was sworn in, and the excitement made my toes curl!

Shortly after, I developed a chronic cough. One year later fatigue started to hit hard. Lastly, the most bizarre symptom occurred – my right arm went numb and I lost all motor function abilities. I was finally diagnosed with hypothyroidism, Hashimoto's Thyroiditis, and papillary thyroid cancer, which had spread to 7 of my lymph nodes. I underwent a total thyroidectomy and kissed my dreams of being a Marine goodbye, along with my carefully crafted plans to fund my education.

Thankfully, the surgery miraculously gave me full use of my arm after seven months of numbness, yet permanently damaged my parathyroid. I was devastated but went off to my freshman year at OU healthy, and determined not to let cancer ruin both of my dreams. However, as said by poet Robert Burns, the best-laid plans of mice and men oft go awry.

My freshman year was spent on a steady health decline as my medical bills racked up. My cough started back up, I became achy, stiff, and numb, with constant muscle spasms and vertigo, prohibiting me from driving. I was experiencing abdominal pain with intense nausea, as well as having slurred words, heart palpitations and heart arrhythmia. I spend my time outside of class researching specialists and finding inexpensive ways to travel to appointments.

I graduated freshman year with a 3.62 GPA and plans for graduating with a double major in Meteorology and in Environmental Science, with dual minors in Mathematics and Portuguese Language. I have found a wonderful personal advisor who is helping to guide me through these tough times, and the emotional support from my family and friends has been amazing.

I however seem to be a medical anomaly, as specialists both at home and school are unable to ascertain a complete diagnosis, nor a comprehensive treatment plan. Your small donation of $10 would help me greatly in funding my dream of becoming a HEALTHY meteorologist, as well as impact the community at large. My goal is to receive donations nationwide, across many networks, so that all kinds of people are represented in my giving.

I look forward to giving back to the community on your behalf. Thank you.

Donations

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  • Anonymous 
    • $60 
    • 23 mos
  • Madison Wallace  
    • $60 
    • 24 mos
  • Jerre Levy 
    • $100 
    • 25 mos
  • Victoria Suarez 
    • $30 
    • 25 mos
  • Abby Grubb 
    • $10 
    • 25 mos
See all

Organizer

Michelle Young 
Organizer
Town of Cambridge, NY
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