Willy's brain tumor recovery

This year, a brain tumor changed my son Will’s life forever; he was diagnosed after suffering days of extreme head pain and nausea while performing as an ice skater in a show that brought him to Thailand,  His neurosurgeon later described his condition as “near-fatal.” After receiving this frightening diagnosis, he was rushed into emergency brain surgery to relieve the crushing intracranial pressure caused by the tumor. I flew to Thailand to bring him home to Salt Lake City, where surgery was scheduled to remove the tumor.

He chronicled his experience of diagnosis in Thailand in a blog 

The good news: the tumor removal was successful. The bad news: Will suffered catastrophic complications.

He came out of surgery in extremely critical condition after suffering a large air embolism while the surgeons were stitching him up, and was quickly put into a paralytic coma. His lungs — and in short order, his entire body — filled with plasma and fluid, which shut down his lungs and caused severe pressure on his heart, causing respiratory and heart failure. His doctors told us it was a miracle that he did not die on the operating table, and if he had not been an athlete all his life, he would not have survived.

When he woke up, eight days after his surgery, it was clear that Will had a long recovery in front of him — such basic everyday tasks as swallowing fluids and food, bathing/personal care, and dressing himself, etc., all had to be re-learned. Especially difficult for him has been gaining control of his body, to walk, sit, turn etc., because he had also suffered four focal strokes from the complications. To give a sense of the damage to his body: he weighed 160 lbs. at entry, jumped to 204 within 36 hours, and left the hospital at 140 lbs. -- a 100 lb. weight gain/loss -- causing massive muscle and soft tissue damage.

Now, he is focused on his recovery and rebuilding his body. Will is in need of services and treatments that are outside of his medical coverage — things like  chronic pain management to help him with the daily body pain,  headache clinics to treat the near-constant headache pain, massage, cognitive therapy, gym membership to keep pushing himself forward in rebuilding his body, etc.  Also, his doctors told us to expect at least a year in recovery — time when he cannot work steadily and thus cover his day-to-day living expenses. We hope to take some of the financial burden away from Will so he can continue to concentrate every day on his recovery.

Willy continues to inspire all of us as we watch him struggle to push himself forward. Through all of these catastrophic events, he is focused on staying positive and looking for best-case long term results — for example, he has refused to rely on highly addictive medications that could take away his continuous pain, but potentially ruin his future. Rather, he fights through the pain so that he can stay on course for what’s best for his mind and body. To the naked eye, he is a normal 26-year-old man, but every day he has a battle waiting for him. Some days he is able to pursue recovery and some days he is overwhelmed with unremitting pain. Yet, he continues to try to find the joy in each and every moment and and to keep moving forward.

Ice skating became Will's passion at ten years old; although we don’t know if he will be able to perform again, he dreams of the potential. The doctors predict he will eventually make a full recovery, but that it may take at least another full year. In the meantime, although he can walk and talk, he is unable to provide any form of income for himself while he recovers. He remains determined. I am reaching out for support to help Will financially while he recovers and gets his life back in his hands. His goals are attainable -- with your help, we believe he will get there.

-- All donations will go directly to Will Michael to assist him with non-covered medical, cognitive and physical therapy expenses, etc. to allow him to focus ALL of his energy on recovering from these catastrophic events. --

"Tumor in Thailand" - Will Michael
  • William Schemers 
    • $100 
    • 44 mos
  • Julie McKenzie 
    • $100 
    • 46 mos
  • Matt Rand 
    • $100 
    • 46 mos
  • Sally Pincus 
    • $100 
    • 46 mos
  • Connstance Garcia 
    • $100 
    • 52 mos
See all

Organizer and beneficiary

Shannon Rawstron Michael 
Salt Lake City, UT
Will Michael