Mike “Danger” Schroeder is a beloved friend, brother, and son who has had a profound impact on the lives of those lucky enough to know him. At 37, Mike is a much-loved bartender at Sputnik in Denver, Colorado, a dedicated cat dad, and a graduate student with plans to become a clinical counselor for youth. His kindness and empathy for others is limitless, and he never hesitates to help someone who is in need.
So many of us depend on Mike for his friendship & counsel, and it’s been devastating to learn that Mike has been diagnosed with Stage 4 Lung Cancer. In the Fall of last year, he began experiencing some troubling symptoms and serious pain, and after a battery of tests and scans (and some very frustrating misdiagnosis), it was discovered that Mike has a malignant adenocarcinoma in his lung, and that it had metastasized and rapidly spread to this lymph nodes, spine, liver, and pelvis.
A get-to-know-me video Mike made for school
The great news: doctors are optimistic that a rigorous course of chemotherapy, which will likely span the next eight months, will be a successful first step toward putting this cancer in remission.
The bad news: Mike recently injured his back, suffering two compression fractures in his spine. That injury combined with the aggressive nature of the cancer has rendered him unable to work or continue to pursue his graduate degree. He will be unable to earn money to support himself for the foreseeable future, let alone pay for the high cost of chemo or the health insurance that will help offset these costs. He is looking into a state-funded program to help pay for future healthcare expenses, but just getting diagnosed and starting chemo with less-than-stellar insurance with high deductibles has resulted in an already overwhelming mountain of debt.
In addition to the chemo, which he will receive through a surgically-implanted port in his chest, Mike will need PET scans and/or MRIs regularly so that doctors can monitor his cancer. He will also need infusions to strengthen his skeletal system, and he has many costly prescriptions to pay for. The chemo will suppress his immune system, which can result in extra hospital visits and hospitalizations. It will be a tough journey, but Mike is committed to doing everything in his power to take care of himself and beat this disease.
We have set our fundraising goal at $50,000. This will help Mike pay the medical bills he’s already incurred, offset future bills, and help cover his basic living expenses while he is unable to work – so he can focus on beating the cancer instead of worrying about a huge financial burden. Any money we receive above and beyond this amount will go toward additional holistic support (like a cancer-fighting diet and therapy) that will help Mike navigate this hard road, both during chemo and afterwards, when his body and brain will have lots of work to do to get back to normal.
You might know Mike through some deliciously awkward banter that made you smile from across the bar. Maybe he always plays your favorite songs every time he sees you walk into Sputnik. Perhaps he's driven you to the emergency room or counseled you when you felt like you couldn't pick yourself up. Maybe he took care of you once when you were sick or fended off someone who was harassing you. Maybe he fed your cat when you were out of town. Whether you know him well or just a little, Mike has rescued just about everyone he knows, and now it's our turn.
Please consider donating to help save this selfless, generous, supportive, deserving soul. Give what you can now, and consider donating again in the future when you’re able. Share about his campaign on social media, and ask us if there's a non-monetary way that you can support. We will update often so that you know exactly what you’re helping to accomplish. Thank you so much for your kindness and generosity that will make such a difference to an incredible man.
Every cent goes to helping Mike kick cancer in the you-know-what.
The Schroeder sibs
Portrait of Mike by Megan Bortle