Michael Walsh, 48, is a Joe Andruzzi Foundation patient recipient who truly embodies the Foundation’s (Up)Beat attitude. This year at the 6th Annual Joe Andruzzi & Friends Golf Tournament, he shared his story of overcoming cancer and living life to the fullest.
Walsh was diagnosed with colon cancer in 1997 at the age of 31, a form of cancer typically developed after age 50. The cancer metastasized to his liver in January 1998, requiring surgery to remove part of his liver and gallbladder. After 12 cycles of chemotherapy, during which he wore a pump for 46 hours of continuous infusion, he received the “all clear” in September of that year. Walsh recognized how the positivity of his nurses and doctors directly influenced his treatment, and was grateful for such caring individuals.
During treatment, Walsh cherished the family and friends in his life. He experienced the joy of watching three of his children graduate from high school, as well as his eldest son and his wife adopting a baby girl and giving birth to his first grandson.
“Cancer changed the way I looked at things; it gave me a better perspective,” Walsh said. “I worked long hours before the diagnosis, and I missed a lot of things in my life. After the diagnosis, it changed me and the little things around me meant so much more.”
In July 2012, Walsh experienced abdominal pain he attributed to kidney stones. Unfortunately, a medical visit revealed terminal cancer in his lymph nodes, for which the doctors recommended more chemotherapy treatment. He endured five difficult cycles of chemo, as well as 22 cycles of radiation over a six-week period.
Ever the hard worker, Walsh continued to work at his job, exhaustion from treatment making it more and more difficult to stay above water. With his family starting to feel the impact of his battle, =one of his nurses at Jordan Hospital in Plymouth, Mass. suggested he reach out to the Joe Andruzzi Foundation for financial support.
Walsh, a lifelong Patriots fan, knew about Joe’s battle with cancer, and respected his character, strength, and support for others battling cancer. He asked for help for the first time in his life, and within 10 days received a check to help pay for his mortgage.
“I can’t tell you the burden that was lifted off my shoulders. JAF taught me I could reach out and trust other people,” Walsh said.
Walsh is continuing to fight cancer, and he is doing so with an (Up)Beat attitude. He is so grateful for the positivity and encouragement he receives from the Foundation. “Cancer may take me, but it will never beat me. I’m too strong, and I have too much love for my family to let it beat me,” Walsh said.