At a very young age, Michael James Cuccione pledged to "Make A Difference" in the fight against childhood cancer. Michael, did win his own battle with the disease, but eventually passed away at the tender age of 16 due to respiratory complications. However, he still continues to "Make A Difference" in the world and impact us in so many ways.
Michael James Cuccione was born on January 5, 1985 to Domenic and Gloria Cuccione in Burnaby, British Columbia. He was raised in Coquitlam, a community near Vancouver on Canada's west coast. Michael was blessed with many talents: he was a singer, songwriter, dancer, actor, and motivational speaker. Despite the tragedy of his childhood cancer, he found his ultimate purpose in the battle, and he became a dedicated crusader for the fight against the disease—all while maintaining his positive and courageous spirit. He loved his family immensely and once described his life as almost perfect because of those closest to him: father Domenic, mother Gloria, sister Sophia and younger brother Steve.
July 25, 1994 was the day that everything changed forever for Michael and his family. Michael was diagnosed with Hodgkin's lymphoma right on his brother Steve's seventh birthday and soon thereafter, he began an aggressive 6-month course of chemotherapy. Michael responded very well to this initial treatment and was told he was cancer-free by the end of it. Sadly, the triumph did not last long, as six months later in the summer of 1995, a routine check-up revealed that Michael's cancer had returned and he was then faced with a bone marrow transplant to continue his fight. Throughout all of these challenges, Michael resolved to remain positive.
Since the beginning of Michael's own battle with cancer, he wanted to make a difference in the lives of others enduring the same hardship.He began to write his own songs that would champion themes of hope and he aimed to publish these songs to help raise funds for childhood cancer research. He produced his own CD and aptly named it "Make A Difference." By the age of 11, he had raised $130,000 through the sales of his CD.
Following the success of his CD, a meeting was set up with the President of BC Children's Hospital and when Michael sat down with her, he was asked, "What do you want to do with the money you have raised?" Michael responded with, "I want to fund the young researchers because if we don't, we won't have them in the future". The President was taken aback by young Michael’s incredible insight and vision for the future. This is how the Michael Cuccione Foundation began.
Michael accomplished more in his 16 years than many people do in a full lifetime. Before he left the world, he was grateful to have been able to fund two full-time young cancer researchers for a lifetime at BC Children's Hospital and to have helped the sick children he met while he was alive. He always cared for everyone else around him and stayed strong in his faith, hope, and love! The world will always remember Michael for the contributions he made and for the incredible human he was.
Michael knew and understood all of the challenges associated with cancer. He courageously shared his own experiences, extended his heart, and inspired people to come together to make a difference. He carried with him the true, unalloyed desire to help other people fight and beat cancer.
In his own battle, Michael made the commitment to help stop the pain that cancer brought. With his talents and brave heart, he dedicated his too-short life to creating awareness and raising important funds for childhood cancer research. He encouraged people to stay positive, to never give up, and to unite in the daunting battle against cancer.