Hope is my Wingman by Michael Antcliffe
You don’t know Michael, but he’d like you to owe him 10 bucks.
Imagine you were told that your life was ending. Would you run off for a last hurrah, or spend every moment with your friends and family?
One incredible man decided that the last 16 months of his life would be dedicated to appreciating loved ones, petting strange dogs and trying to raise a million dollars for cancer care. Along the way, he brought the dreaded C-word, Cancer, out into the open. Join Michael on his journey to make 5,000 Facebook friends, publish a book, meet a couple of Hollywood comedians, and let him show you what living is really about.
“If cancer wants to take me it will have to come for me piece by stubborn piece.” Michael Antcliffe
Hope is My Wingman is a collection of Michael Antcliffe’s Facebook postings and notes written during his battle with cancer, that dreaded “c”word that makes us all uncomfortable. When I began this book, I expected it to be a memoir; instead, it is a series of chronologically arranged messages describing his physical and emotional journey to the end of his life.
Michael created a Facebook page to help raise awareness about and raise funds to fight this aggressive disease that discriminates against no one. It takes a courageous person to reveal and share their innermost thoughts and feelings with not only friends, but strangers as well. I don’t know too many people, myself included, who would be willing to do this. He doesn’t hesitate to be open about his fears, anger, pain, and also the joys he finds during the last year of his life. Also included are notes written by those whose lives Michael has touched. I cannot help but be awed by this warrior who refused to give in to self-pity and bitterness and chose to fight until the end.
I think one of his major reasons for making his experience public is to take away our fears and discomfort about cancer. I really hadn’t thought about it much before, but cancer is one of those topics that we don’t always know how to address and deal with. I feel the need to mention that about an hour before I began to read this book, I learned that a member of my extended family has bone cancer. Immediately, I wanted to reach out to him and his parents, but I found myself stalling, just staring at the telephone. I didn’t know what to say; “I’m sorry” just didn’t seem like enough. I also thought if I called, I might upset them by mentioning “cancer.” However, by the time I finished Michael’s book, I knew what I needed to do to help his family.
Michael is open and honest in describing what it’s like to have cancer and how it’s so important that we open our minds and hearts and take the time to connect others. I appreciated his frankness at the start of the book when he admits that before he got cancer, he was like many of us who don’t know what to say or do, yet by avoiding the situation, we miss the opportunity to share our love and support with those who need us despite our awkwardness. Michael’s story is a gift reminding me to embrace the present and try to live a life that I can look back upon without regret.
Hope is my Wingman is an inspiring read!
I received a copy of this book to review from Split Tree Publishing for an honest review.
About the Author
Michael Jack Antcliffe was born May 13th 1975 in the old McKellar Hospital in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada. The youngest of three children (siblings Christopher and Jennifer) in a working- class family, Michael spent his early years raised by his parents, Alan and Mary, in a country setting in the township of Scoble, a short distance southeast of the city of Thunder Bay. He enjoyed a childhood that inspired a love of nature and the outdoors. Michael moved back into the city in time to attend Sir Winston Churchill High School and continued his education at the University of Manitoba, where he stayed and worked as a Youth Care Worker at Jessie Home Inc., for five years following the completion of university. Missing his family, Michael returned to his home town and began earning his way doing home renovations and construction, eventually finding employment with a university friend at First Class Finishing. Always choosing to keep life simple and concentrating on time spent with friends and loved ones, Michael continued to follow this philosophy after being afflicted with malignant melanoma and forced onto disability.
During the last year and a half of his life, Michael explored fundraising avenues and sought to improve the lives of those stricken by cancer whose fight each day is simply to reach the next. He made the most of his time, choosing to spend it with family and friends. Michael’s siblings, Christopher and Jennifer still live in Thunder Bay, along with their parents.
Michael Jack Antcliffe passed away on August 18th 2012 at the age of 37. He will never be forgotten.
Michael’s website: http://michaelantcliffe.com
HOPE is my Wingman on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/HopeismyWingman
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