Seven months after Mike Moran found that his body was full of cancer, he
turned to his wife, Cheri Doman, and said, “I’m dying.”
“Not tonight you’re not,” answered his friend, business partner, life
partner, soul connection. “Not tonight.”
This intimate moment occurred the evening Mike entered the palliative wing
at Royal Victoria Hospital; it was the culmination of gruelling
determination, a long-distance ride, a marathon of battle that Mike and
Cheri and their families and their team had carried out for more than half a
After trying and tossing aside chemotherapy, after watching his body melt
from 165 pounds to 110, Mike shifted into alternative healing, nutrition,
and aggressive natural products from all over North America. The fight was
Like everything he did in life, Mike fought to win. And to teach. And he
did both during his time in hospital, his time at home on the computer
maintaining stock orders for the couple’s outdoor adverture experience
But, the lesson here is really in how Mike chose to die, and how those who
loved him helped him realize that.
Last Wednesday night, 24 hours after coming into RVH for the final time,
Mike announced that he wanted a party. Always a believer in life being 10%
what happens to you and 90% what you do with it, Mike wanted a party. He
wanted it Friday, from noon to 8 pm. He wanted music and Beach Boys theme.
And his friends pulled it off. In came palm trees and leis, and guitars and
the garden deck on RVH’s 3rd floor became Beach Boys heaven.
The word went out; 140 friends showed up to party, and RVH rocked as Mike
wiggled a dance in his hospital bed, moved to the garden deck for the
occasion. Mike told jokes. He told stories that continued to instruct in
their gentle way. He gave words of encouragement. And he smiled from ear
He told Cheri he wanted his party from noon til 8 pm, because at 8 he would
begin the final leg of his journey. And at 7:30, he gestured to her that it
was time to return to his room on 3North… he needed to go. And his final
ascent began. Within hours, Mike’s earthly journey was complete. By Sunday
600 people gathered at Tangle Creek Golf Course, with a 270 degree view of
the outdoors that Mike loved, and for hours his community celebrated his
When Mike and Cheri had discussed his celebration, Mike was pragmatic: “I
don’t want a funeral where people cry and talk in whispers… if you do
that, I’m not coming!”
The celebration began as everyone was asked to turn to someone they didn’t
know and tell their best ‘Mike’ story. The hall erupted with sound. Mike’s
twin brother Bill, wrote and sang a song for his brother, folding into the
melody the caring for another sibling killed in a car accident a few years
“Adventures appeared at every turn we made… those memories I have will
never fade. We ignored the limits and we rode all day…”
Ignoring limits is an understatement for Mike Moran. A skier, hiker,
kayakker, paddler, biker, coach, mentor… Mike’s joy was doing and
equipping others to do. He’d frequently ride the 60 km to work from their
home in Moonstone. This was a man with few physical boundaries.
Consider this: a 10 year old kid, wearing a flannel, long sleeved shirt and
his PF Flyers, decides he’s ready to run the 42 km Toronto marathon. TEN
YEARS OLD! And he won.
Eleven years later he took off on his bike for a tour of 18 months and
15,500 miles all over North America… Mike, chasing his dream. His dream?
To live well and wholly.
He’s had the same dream since March and with each physical improvement, each
gain of weight, hope soared…
“It’s Mike! He’ll do it.” That was the common reaction. Mike and Cheri
rode their tandem touring bike until he was strong enough in July to try on
his own… this man who had thousands of miles on his wheels. By August,
his physical movements really slowed and his breathing changed… his lungs
were filling. Through it all, Mike continued to meet with some of the
product reps for their store, filling in computer orders, talking to the
Customers came to visit, endless numbers of cards arrived. Medical staff,
friends, his incredible family, Cheri’s family, the Sojourn team, it was a
busy, boisterous hospital room and Mike wouldn’t have it any other way.
In typical Mike Moran fashion, he’s taken maps of North America and charted
his bike trips, his hike trips, the places he most loved. And his wife has
been charged with a responsibility: to make sure he visits each once more.
Few of us are privileged to participate in the final journey of a man whose
life is marked by such extremes. But Mike and Cheri and Mike’s siblings and
extended family jumped on his bandwagon, participated fully in Mike’s
philosophy of life being 90% what you do with what happens to you.
Thanks, Cheri for sharing so well the legacy left in the tire tracks.
Thanks, Mike for the final lesson.