North Merrick native battling cancer hopes to help loved ones in Hawaii
A North Merrick native battling cancer called the island of Maui for nearly seven years. He is now helping the people of Hawaii as they are going through a life-altering change.
Michael O’Connell is creating “Lahaina Strong” T-shirts to help the people of Maui.
Lahaina is a section of Maui where O’Connell lived. He learned about the fatal wildfires from his roommates.
“She’s like, ‘Cancel your ticket, don’t come back,’” O’Connell says. “She’s like, ‘You don’t have a home or a job to come back to.’”
O’Connell was supposed to go back to Maui in a few weeks after finishing his eighth round of chemotherapy treatment in New York. He was diagnosed with stage four colorectal cancer in early March.
O’Connell recently learned the cancer has spread to his bones so treatment has been put on hold until doctors can figure out the next step.
For now, he says he is going to focus on making shirts to raise funds for his Hawaiian friends in Maui.
“I’m just going to try to remain positive and pray for my friends, family, ohana, coworkers and hope that we can rebuild the community and that I can return home to it one day with a clean bill of health,” O’Connell says.
To donate to help the cause, click here.
To check out O’Connell’s created shirts, click here.