By: Brittany Paris
Hickman resident, Mike Stewart, is turning 62 on Saturday.
The longtime farmer and truck driver always has a smile and a joke. And is constantly working, even if that means building his own tractor ice cream maker.
But he has another birthday he'll celebrate each year, October 29. After many blood transfusions, that's the day he got a life-saving stem cell transplant.
Mike says in 2012, he realized his get up and go, got up and left.
"I didn't realize it, but I guess I was really pale and I knew I was short on energy," he said.
After a series of blood tests, he was diagnosed with Myelodyspastic Syndrome, a type of cancer where his bone marrow doesn't make enough healthy blood cells.
A few months later, Mike was told he had another cancer that affects his lymph node cells, T-Cell Lymphoma.
"Pretty scary. You know, the first one in our family, really this close, that's been diagnosed with something," Mike's sister, Becky Stewart, said.
"Amazingly enough, it never did scare me," Mike said.
And that's the attitude that helped Mike beat both cancers.
Becky wants to recognize all the people who helped in her brother's recovery, countless blood donors and an anonymous 22-year-old female stem cell donor.
Becky organized an event called Savior Neighbor. It's an American Red Cross blood drive and Be the Match bone marrow registry event.
It's from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Lincoln Racquet Club near 53rd and Old Cheney. Everyone is invited to give blood and see if they're a stem cell match for bone marrow.
"You just want to do what you can to help and sometimes you're kind of helpless. But this made it something I can actually help with and feel good about," Becky said.
Mike says he isn't giving up or slowing down now.
"I'm, I feel great."
Again, everyone is encouraged to go to Savior Neighbor. The bone marrow test is just a swab in your mouth. And if you don't want to give blood, cash donations are always welcome.