Region – Michael Gelbwasser was an accomplished freelance journalist who covered numerous stories in the region, first with local online media sites and then, for two years, the Community Advocate. He was also an enthusiastic comic book fan who in particular loved the “Green Lantern.”
During the last year of his life, he fought the hardest battle of his life – stage 4 colorectal cancer. Never one to ask for pity, he faced his disease like his beloved superheroes, with courage and strength. He also drew on his own powers as a reporter, gathering as much information as he could from numerous sources.
As time went on and it became clear that this was not a fight he could win, Mike chose not to be bitter and resentful, but rather was pragmatic yet confident that he and his medical team at UMass Memorial Medical Center had done all they could. He also chose to be grateful for the support of his many friends, gifting many of them with items from his vast comic books and sports memorabilia collections.
On Aug. 13, 2015, Mike lost his battle to his most unworthy foe. He was only 46.
To honor his memory, Mike’s family will be celebrating his life Sunday, Sept. 25, at the UMass Medicine Cancer Walk and Run. The team, “Mike’s Green Lanterns,” will be headed by his mother, Bonnie, sister Amy Payne and her husband, Mark.
The team will also walk in memory of Mike’s sister Sherry Gelbwasser, who passed away from ovarian cancer on April 26, 2013. They will also do so in honor of Bonnie, who is a 22-year inflammatory breast cancer survivor. Bonnie was also treated at UMass, and was the first breast cancer patient to undergo a bone marrow transplant in their then-new unit.
For more information or to contribute to the team’s efforts, visit www.firstgiving.com/umasscancerwalk/2016 and search for “Mike’s Green Lanterns.”