In December 2011, Mike Farrell heard the words that no one ever wants to hear: “you have cancer.” After complaining of back pain and being diagnosed with what was thought to be pneumonia, Mike, unbeknownst to everyone around him, had been battling small-cell lung cancer. A non-smoker, Mike was diagnosed with one of the most aggressive types of cancer. But in typical Mike fashion, he tackled the diagnosis head on and readied himself to beat those cancer cells into submission. Through various rounds of chemo and treatment, Mike never lost his constant ability to light up a room with his smile and quirky sense of humor. His great taste in music and great circle of friends and family provided the positive energy he needed to get him through his treatments. The always active Mike became oddly addicted to “Law and Order” while making big plans for his "Act 2" (including creating a new company which he fondly referred to as the “POT REIT”).
Upon hearing in May of 2012 that the cancer had left, Mike made a goal to walk the Bay Head 5k; something that to all of us seemed an impossible goal since the treatments had left his body beaten and battered. Just walking to the car took all his effort. Mike wanted to walk last year, but upon persuasion from all of us, we convinced him to wait a year to practice enough so that he could beat us all in the race.
However, in August, Mike heard those words again and this time it was worse: the cancer had spread. Going back for more aggressive treatments, Mike continued to fight and still never lost his confidence that he would beat this. However, on October 21, 2012, Mike’s courageous effort wasn’t enough and he went home to heaven. In our minds and hearts, Mike will always be our superhero in so many ways and so to honor Mike, our family will be running the Bay Head 5k for him.
The name, “Toxic Avengers”, is taken from one of the basketball teams Mike used to play on. At the time, we all wondered "why on earth would you name a basketball team that?". But now, we think we have found a meaningful way to repurpose the team name to honor our superhero. We are walking this race now to raise money for the Lung Cancer Research Foundation, the Kate Shea Foundation (which is generously allowing us to participate in this event as a team) and, most importantly, for Mike. We want to avenge those toxic cancer cells that took him away from us too soon and hope to start to find a cure for this terrible disease.
So please join us and be a TOXIC AVENGER for Mike!