LYNDHURST, Ohio (WJW) — He’s a fighter who has rallied an entire high school around him.
Michael Fording, 46, has been the principal at Brush High School in Lyndhurst for the last two years, but his impact is everlasting. Although he’s fighting a deadly cancer, he’s living life to the fullest.
“They did a colonoscopy on me in late June and it showed I already had stage four colorectal cancer that had spread to my liver at that time,” Fording said.
His diagnosis was a total shock. He didn’t even feel sick until June. Now he’s been given 18 to 24 months to live.
“You really can’t put a number on anything like that because each person reacts differently. So they can give you a time frame but that really is never a concern to me because I’m just gonna live each day, keep working, spend time with my family (and) the people I love, and do what we do every day to support the students here, just do what we do every day,” Fording said.
Fording is dedicated to being an example, a pillar of perseverance, showing up and facing his health challenges head-on.
“This is my extended family here and that’s staff, students, it’s just the culture piece, being here just to see the kids smile every day or when they have a problem, I love helping the kids when they have a problem,” Fording said. “So it’s important to be here for me because it gives me the normalcy I’m looking for. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Could I stay home all year? Of course. But I would never do it because I love being here.”
The school recently held a 5K run to support cancer research at University Hospitals and to raise money to help Fording with his skyrocketing medical bills.
“That means everything to me because they’re building awareness and they’re helping me out as well and that doesn’t always happen.”
The students and staff at Brush High School are the principal’s extended family, but he also has a wife and four daughters who are on this journey with him, fighting every step of the way.