Cory J. Garwacki Foundation, Live to Give
Live to Give in a Way that is Meaningful to You.

My Live to Give Story

6/7/2016 | Michelle Macey


When I think of what live to give means to me so many things come to mind. I never personally knew Cory, but I have learned so many amazing things about him and the legacy he left behind. The live to give philosophy to me hits home in a big way. Growing up I never had it easy, but I never knew what God had planned for my family when I got older. Shortly after I graduated college I found out that my father was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer which is a very rare form of cancer. I know many of you are wondering what that is. I also wondered the same thing. My dad has tumors on his lungs that grow slower than normal types of lung cancers. Once I found out what this cancer was immediately I went to the Internet to see what I could do to help out. I found a walk in New York that I was so excited to be a part of. What I didn't know was that I was about to be hit with some terrible news. The walk was set for November and I was on a roll with raising money for the Carcinoid Cancer Awareness Network, but I received a phone call a few months prior to the walk that would forever change my life.


At the end of August 2013 I went to the eye doctor for a routine eye exam. She noticed my left eye was bulging out a little bit so she ordered a CT scan. We thought maybe it was a sinus behind my eye that was causing the headaches I was constantly having. The day after my scan I got a phone call from my doctor -- something I will remember for the rest of my life. It started out with some big medical term, but what I recall from that conversation was "you have a tumor putting pressure on your brain." I was at work and I didn't know how to react so I immediately called my dad and told him the news. The doctor did say that it was benign and that's probably the most reassuring word in the English language to me. I had headaches for 7 years so it was nice in a weird way to finally have an answer. I didn't have a choice when it came to surgery my tumor was the size of a golf ball which for an acoustic neuroma as they called it is very large. I was diagnosed in very early September and I had a 10 hour surgery on December 4,2013. Leading up to the surgery I was scared, but the only way I was going to get through that was to stay positive. To this day people tell me how amazing I was through the whole thing. My doctor told me it couldn't have gone better and I believe that my belief that everything happens for a reason was part of that. My tumor was benign and that is a huge thing in itself. They got 98% of it out with the surgery! I don't have headaches and migraines anymore and for those of you that suffer from migraines will know that this was a gift in a way. I believe that my attitude got me through the darkest days of my life. What I did as soon as I was diagnosed was find an organization that I could donate my time to. I found the National Brain Tumor Association which is based right here in Boston. For the last two years I have raised money for brain tumor awareness and have walked in the Boston Brain Tumor Walk. I am two and a half months post op and I have never felt better. I am completely deaf in my right ear as a result of the surgery, but if that's the only side effect that I have to deal with I will gladly take it. As far as my father goes he is doing great and we just recently got the news that the tumors on his lungs are shrinking! 


I feel that now that I have gone through something like this I am here to "live to give".  By giving my time to something so close to my heart I know that I am helping other people to be able to get through the darkest times of their lives and educate people on something they may not be so aware of. I wasn't aware of Cory's condition and what he went through on a daily basis, but through this organization I have learned a lot about Cory and what he went through. This was Cory's mission - to educate people like me on what he had. I can only hope that I am doing the same thing through my live to give philosophy. 

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