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Above and Beyond with Michael

In May of 2016 I lost my first born son, Michael. It was a tragic end to a sweet child’s life. He died in his Drexel dorm room, after taking two tablets of oxycontin, spiked with fentanyl.

All people have a story, but this was my son and the story is a tough one. The fear that this Father had after the shock and terror, was the idea that people would soon forget him. Even worse, that he would be remembered for his last moment, as opposed to his many beautiful moments during his life. No one knew better what his goals were than me. So now I work to fulfill the dreams that he had.

Michael wanted to be a child psychologist, helping children who had faced the loss of a loved one to cancer. His mother Karen had passed away five years before and had had eight brain surgeries during Michael’s life, starting when he was two. His compassion and empathy for children who had endured his experience was brilliantly apparent from his volunteer work with support camps like Camp Jinka and his early childhood, big brother style classes in High School.

Above and Beyond with Michael is dedicated to supporting children who want life to mean more. We match funds on projects created and manifested inside of a child’s mind. Our first indoctrination being a $1,000 match to drill a Well in South Sudan. The children were so excited when they heard of the match that they exceeded their goal, allowing us to make a down payment on another well. We accept ideas and applications from anyone who has a great idea and is willing to raise a percentage of the funds to see it come to fruition.

We also react to the needs of the day; whether it be importing thousands of masks from the Dominican Republic for Pediatrician offices and hospitals when they were scarce in the Northeast or our newest task, securing Chrome books for a disenfranchised youth who will lose their formative years of learning without the proper technology in this Covid world.

My hope is that the children and grandchildren of my clients understand that this exists and is here to support those children who have high aspirations and dreams. Please enjoy some of the pictures and letters we have received over the years. We are very proud of what we have accomplished, but we know the best is yet to come.

The painting of Michael was created by the children of Camp Jinka. The art director created the base, and every camper wrote one word they felt described him. This is how I would like Michael remembered. It is my prized possession. 

Kind words from Laurie Shadowen, the 5th grade teacher at Collegiate School. 

"Hi Robert,

I couldn't post on the Facebook page is it is a closed group.

I asked permission to be accepted in the group. As "thank you" seems too simple for the thoughts and feelings I had today this is what I wrote instead:

Today I met Robert. He heard about me, a mere pediatrician tangled in a complicated health care system, unable to secure protective equipment during the Covid-19 pandemic and he came to my office to bring me his amazing gift: N95 masks.

I learned about Robert that he is a father of two beautiful sons, Michael and Justin. Michael left to Heaven four years ago and from there, he is guiding his dad to help people protect and preserve what counts most: health and life.

I couldn’t see Robert’s face, as he was wearing a modest cloth mask (not one of those N95s, preserved religiously for us, the first responders). I couldn’t shake his hand, I couldn’t give him a hug, but I could see his eyes and I understood, beyond words, that he was very happy to make this world a better, safer place, in Michael’s name. And I could feel the everlasting connection between Robert and Michael, which was driving Robert forward with his legacy.

Today I met Robert. He gave me the gift of health and life for me and for the people whose lives I am touching through my profession. He was sent by his guardian angel. He was sent by Michael.


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