Michael and Harris Stolzenberg watched the events at the Boston Marathon unfold on the television from their living room in Florida. The brothers, like the rest of the nation, were struck with empathy and compassion for the victims, but Michael, age 13, could relate on a much more personal level, as he is a quadruple amputee. The pair decided to do something to help, and are helping in a big way.
When Michael was just eight years old, he became ill with a bacterial infection that kept him in a hospital for seven weeks. Two of those weeks were spent in a medically induced coma, as doctors tried to battle septic shock and lack of oxygen flow to his limbs. Over two months, his limbs turned purple and black, and ultimately doctors had to make the tough decision to amputate both his hands and his feet.
Michael has an amazing outlook, and he didn’t let his lost limbs stop him from enjoying life. He is as active as any other 13-year-old boy, playing both lacrosse and football regularly. He understood the fear and confusion the victims of the bombings would face, and decided to do something to help them get back in the game.
“Me and my brother were just kind of sitting there and we heard that there were going to be a lot of amputees,” said Harris, 17, who will attend MIT in the fall. “We thought we could do something to help. We thought if we could raise $10,000, that we could help one person and make a difference in their lives, then it would be worth it.”
The pair started a website called Mikey’s Run and teamed up with the non-profit Scott Rigsby Foundation to help ensure the funds raised would go directly to the amputee victims. Harris posted the idea to the MIT Class of 2017 group on Facebook, and quickly found support from other future students to help put the program together, including web design. Little did they know that their goal of raising $1 million would go viral.
“Everyone just latched onto the story. We never really imagined it getting this big,” Harris said. “Right now it’s just taking off and we’re definitely going to help a lot more than one person.”
As of May 23rd, MikeysRun.com has raised nearly $100,000. With prosthetic limb prices starting around $10,000, they are certainly going to help more than just one person.
When asked what Michael would like to tell the victims of the bombing, he replied, “It’s a huge impact on your life, but at the same time, you can still accomplish everything you want to accomplish in life. There’s always a silver lining.”
What is your silver lining? Maybe today it could be helping the Stolzenberg brothers meet their goal! Visit the Mikey’s Run website for more info on how you can donate or become a member of Mikey’s Team.