Military men, women celebrate 'Michael Oliver Day' at Joint Base Andrews
JOINT BASE ANDREWS, Md. (ABC7) —
Today is 'Michael Oliver Day' at Joint Base Andrews. This courageous 16-year-old is being made pilot for a day.
He's flying in the helicopter simulator, he's touring the refueling plane, he's getting fitted with his own G-Suit and helmet, and he even has his name on the pilot window.
Everywhere Michael goes, its red carpets and applause. That's all because Michael is fighting for his life after he was diagnosed with Erdhein Chester Disease; a disease that is very rare and terminal.
"For two years, Michael has been saying something is wrong, and I don't know what's wrong," his mother, Jessica, told us.
Michael was always active. He ran track and played football. But his bones ached and he drank excessive amounts of water.
Two years ago, Michael underwent an MRI, and that's when they discovered the brain tumors. Shortly after, they diagnosed him with a rare disease that affects only a handful of people worldwide.
"If it goes the way it usually does, I have three to five years, and it looks like a year is already up," Michael said.
ABC7's Jonathan Elias asked Michael if he was scared. "If I am scared, I'm scared about leaving my family," he said, fighting back tears.
Today, the non-profit organization Check-6 brought Michael, his mother, two brothers and sister to the base for a day to forget about his disease.
"When I just talked to Michael, he said this day gives him hope," Check-6 Founder Lt. Col. Rob Balzano told us. "Michael is our hero. You see all the volunteers and all the folks on this base, we look up to Michael, what he's going through.. this is nothing compared to the challenge we face."
Elias asked Michael, "When days like this give you hope, what are you hoping for?"
"That if we don't find a cure, that I can still have fun in my last few years," he said crying.
Sadly, Michael's fight has gotten even more difficult. His father is not in the picture and his family is now living in a homeless shelter.
And to make matters worse, he just found out his baby brother has a heart condition. Check-6 is doing what they can to help.
If you want to help Michael and his family, visit The Check-6 Foundation.