Born in Glendale, CA, Mike developed epilepsy at the age of 2. As his family moved to NJ, he struggled as a youth and was debilitated to the point where he could not participate in “regular” activities. Because of his condition, Mike could not do the simple things other kids could do, like hop on one leg or skip. Young Mike could not eat everyday meals at the dinner table or with sharp eating utensils and even needed to be helped to go to the bathroom for fear that his head would smack downward and he would get hurt due to a violent seizure. He was placed in special education gym class in school because of his slow motor skills and development. At times he even had to wear a helmet.
Mike outgrew his early “drop attacks” at age 7, and his father gave him a basketball to see if his coordination could develop. It worked, and Mike dreamed big. Years later, at age 16, when he was at a basketball camp, he had an epileptic seizure, his first major grand-mal attack in nearly ten years. The camp administrators attempted unsuccessfully tried to have him removed. That incident would change him forever, as he knew that one day he wanted to give back to other young people who felt as isolated as he did in that situation. Mike continued to have epileptic seizures in high school. Still, he was a 3-year varsity starter, standout point guard, captain, and graduate of Don Bosco Prep. As a postgraduate student, Mike was the team assist and steals leader at the prestigious Hun School of Princeton.
His bouts with seizures would continue through his college years, which led him down a tough road. He would eventually finish and get his degree at SUNY Purchase. As a 2-year captain, assist and steals leader, Mike fulfilled his first dream, college ball, and a college degree.
At age 24, Mike suffered a near-fatal 108-degree fever and coma condition. He continues to deal with epilepsy throughout his adult life. Currently, Mike takes 15 pills for his condition, and he is now seizure-free a survivor, and a model picture of healthy living. Mike’s number 1 mission is to help connect with kids and tell his story to all.