Michael returned home from a late 2018 solo trip to Vietnam lethargic and unable to kick a cough he’d had for a few months. Always conscious of his health since his brain cancer, Michael didn’t ignore the symptoms, and soon learned they were resulting from Myelodysplastic syndrome, which ultimately developed into Leukemia.
As Michael underwent a bone marrow transplant – his sister Jess his donor – and again faced months of long days in a sterile Johns Hopkins Hospital room, he recommitted to busting boredom for others. He expressed his desire to Marcie to make their operation official and establish a 501(c)3 nonprofit organization.
Marcie busied herself with the early stages of creating the nonprofit, and she sought out information on how to best support John’s and her young adult son as he faced this life-threatening diagnosis. She was connected with Ulman Foundation founder Diana Ulman, who listened kindly, shared wisdom, and offered resources – including Ulman House. Marcie and John both stayed at Ulman House a few times as they relocated their lives to Baltimore for Michael’s 90-day post-transplant hospital stay, and while in the midst of their own crisis, saw an opportunity to share boredom buster boxes with the Ulman community.
While Michael’s health heading into his transplant was exceptional, and his sister’s DNA was a perfect match, some Leukemia cells hid away and caused an aggressive recurrence in the fall of 2019. Michael’s service and adventures here on earth sadly ceased as he passed away on April 12, 2020.
In the year that has passed since Michael’s death, well over 1,000 boxes have been given in his memory, Boredom Busters has officially gained nonprofit status, and each member of the McCauley family still contributes in their own unique ways. Most importantly, the philosophy that Michael, the selfless young man with a generosity of spirit, carried with him each day and around the world, is now delivered to each recipient.
“The purpose of life is to help others through it.” – Michael Andrew McCauley, 1992-2020