Michael Caleb McHugh died of Alveolar Rhabdomyosarcoma (ARMS) in August of 2017 when he was 13. Diagnosed only 15 months earlier, Michael’s disease was fast growing, and in the end, unstoppable. Michael lived in Milton, Massachusetts, with his parents, Mike and Kari, his sister, Brooke, and his dog, Casey.
Mike attended and LOVED Tucker Elementary School. A huge soccer player from the very beginning he played on Tucker’s hard top playgroung every minute he had the opportunity. Growing up with a tight-knit group of friends, he was very lucky to always have someone to play with and was never sitting still for very long. Michael was an avid athlete and played for the Milton, Real Boston, and Scorpions soccer teams. He also competed in both Milton hockey and Milton basketball.
In 2015 Michael was accepted to Thayer Academy where he became an honors student and played soccer, hockey and basketball for the Middle School teams. Michael also enjoyed chorus and acting in the school play.
In April of his 6th grade year, just after his 12th birthday, Michael was diagnosed with Stage 4 metastatic ARMS. The disease had infiltrated his bones and was spreading throughout his body. Chemotherapy quickly killed the disease. However, ARMS has a well-earned reputation for being aggressive and Michael relapsed only months later in November while still on chemotherapy.
Michael never wanted to be known for his disease and shunned any attention that was brought on by his illness. He continued to play sports, go to school and live as normal a life as he could even completing his final exams weeks before he died. Michael fought his cancer until the very end, resetting his expectations with every setback by finding a way to move forward and keep smiling.
Michael was known for his incredibly dry humor and childish laugh, for his inside out and backwards clothing and an inability to tie his shoes. He was also notable for his tall stature, fierce loyalty, and competitive spirit.
However, he will always be remembered for his kind heart and huge smile and for the work that he inspired through the Michael C. McHugh Memorial Foundation.