Michael Thomas McGrew
September 19, 1991 – May 21, 2010
Michael Thomas McGrew was born September 19, 1991 in Santa Barbara, California. Michael was a loving child who became quickly adored by the people whose lives he entered. As a child he played sports and enjoyed camping, hunting and fishing. He led an active childhood and touched the hearts of many people as a “normal kid.”
At the age of 12 Michael was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma (a form of bone cancer) and thus began a journey that turned him into a special person who helped define to the world and people around him what love, strength, honor, and courage truly meant. Because of a tumor in his leg, he was forced to have his left leg amputated and underwent one year of intensive chemotherapy which almost took his life on several occasions. Michael began to grow into a person who understood the important things in life and the importance of love and compassion for fellow humans. Our community stepped up to help Michael and his family as God’s spirit quickly spread to all who knew his story..
Michael returned to school and attended San Marcos High School where he competed on the wrestling team with one leg. A short time later the cancer returned to his lung and he underwent more cancer therapy for another year. He again returned to school and attended Dos Pueblos High School until the cancer returned to his right leg which required a knee and bone replacement and yet another year of intensive chemotherapy that almost took his life again. Each time Michael survived these insurmountable challenges he did it for the loved ones around him and endured pain and suffering that most people could not imagine. He made friends with other cancer children as they mentored each other through very difficult times. He lost friends to cancer, fought for his life, overcame disabilities, endured chronic pain, and became wise beyond his years.
Michael spent a good portion of his life growing up in Cottage Hospital, a wonderful place that provided him and his family with support, comfort, and amazing love from the precious staff and heroes who work there. Our community is blessed to have this hospital in our midst.
During Michael’s treasured times of feeling healthy, he took full advantage of the wonderful programs available to him. He traveled to Disney World courtesy of the Make a Wish Foundation, met several celebrities and became friends with Rob Schneider courtesy of Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation, and experienced a fantastic adventure in the Alaskan wilderness courtesy of a Hunt of a Lifetime when he harvested a charging Alaskan brown bear that attacked him. Because of the generosity of so many people, Michael was able to have a life filled with exciting and memorable experiences. He enjoyed precious moments with his family and friends and was a beautiful artist who appreciated music, drawing, and artwork.
On May 21, 2010, Michael died after a tiresome and amazing journey when God called him to heaven. Michael’s courage and love inspired everyone who knew his story. His strength displayed during his pain and suffering caused the people around him to experience valuable growth. His courage guided those who knew him to love deeper and live a greater life. His life brought people closer to God, families closer together, and united thousands of people for a common good. Michael lived a heroic life that brought grace filled love into the world. It was truly a blessing and honor to have him in our lives. Michael’s family wishes to express their heartfelt thanks to the countless people whose acts of kindness and love touched and made an everlasting difference in their lives and Michael’s life.
Michael is survived by his mother – Tammi Cordeiro, Sister- Taryn McGrew, Brother- Matthew McGrew, Father- Mike McGrew, Stepmother- Nicole McGrew, Grandparents, Tom and Pat Cordeiro, Dawn McGrew and husband Pat Wade, Warner and wife Joan McGrew, Great Grandfathers Manuel Cordeiro, Lewis Meskimen and wife Elvira, Aunt Danna McGrew Britton and husband John Britton, Uncle Ritchie Cordeiro, cousins Justin and Alexandra Freres, Jonathon and Danielle Britton and several loving Great aunts, Great uncles, and second and third cousins.
A celebration of Michael’s life will be held at Calvary Chapel located at 1 N. Calle Cesar Chavez Ste 21 in Santa Barbara on Thursday May 27, at 2:00 pm. Everyone who was touched by Michael’s life is invited to attend. In lieu of flowers, please make a tax-deductable donation in Michael’s name to the Teddy Bear Cancer Foundation; address 133 E. De La Guerra St. #163 Santa Barbara, Ca. 93101.