Real Kids of BAMFness: Michael Stolzenberg

“They didn’t take away my heart, my brain and my spirit.” – Michael Stolzenburg

Our BAMF comes to us via reader input. Sometimes even BAMFs need a little help, and this is one of those times. Here’s the scene: an eight year old boy drives his motorized wheel chair around the block. When stops it, he holds up his arms, grinning, and says “Look Ma!” His mother laughs and says, “I know, no hands.” The mother knows this is the punchline because Michael Stolzenburg doesn’t have any hands. He doesn’t have any feet either.

In July of this year, Michael was infected by a rare tropical bacteria called Chromobacterium violaceum. Antibiotics should have treated, but they did not. Sadly, Michael suffers from a rare immunity disorder. As a result he became extremely sick and spent seven weeks in the hospital. Septicemia due to a lack of blood flow ravaged his extremities, forcing doctors to amputate both hands and both feet.

The one time quarterback and lacrosse player has been forced to face a level of adversity that no one ought to. But this eight year boy is thriving. He talks about when – not if – he returns to playing sports and hanging out with his friends. The prostheses that would allow him to do so exist. But because of his age, he’d new a new pair roughly every six months. Any parent can empathize with a kid outgrowing clothes and shoes. But what if your child was outgrowing his hands and feet? The cost of these artificial limbs is staggering for even one. Michael needs four, and he needs those four replaced regularly. The cost for a set? Approximately $100,000.

Undaunted, Michael continues to echo the advice given to him by Miami Heat star Udonis Haslem. “Don’t ever let anyone tell you, ‘You can’t.'”

MS, you are a BAMF.

If you want to support this BAMF-in-need, please visit the Michael Stolzenburg Trust.

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