Editor’s note: The following story about Mike Wein and Brady’s Bunch was written by Craig Rybczynski of the Rochester Knighthawks.
Mike “Papi” Wein has a powerful message for you.
On March 17, the native of Framingham, Mass., brought his inspiring story to the members of the National Lacrosse League’s Rochester Knighthawks.
Shortly after their morning shootaround, the players and staff sat silently in their locker room at Mohegan Sun Arena and just listened. What they heard was a message of hope and overcoming adversity.
“Let me tell you a little bit about how lucky you are not only to play lacrosse at this level, but how lucky you are to be alive,” said Mike. “Every day is a holiday. Every day is a privilege. Sport is a flat out privilege.”
As the father and lacrosse coach paced from one side of the lockers to the other, Mike Wein emotionally told the team about his son, Brady, who was diagnosed with Acute Myelogenous Leukemia (AML) at three months old.
But the story does not end there.
Brady is a young boy who has defied the odds, having been told by doctors that he would not reach his second birthday. Then, at two and half years of age, he successfully underwent operations for cataracts in both eyes and a hip condition.
In 2007, Mike started a team in Arizona to play for Brady. Eight years later, Brady’s Bunch was officially founded by integrating lacrosse and using the slogan we “Play For Someone Else” in solidarity for children fighting cancer.
The mission of the non-profit organization, which bears Brady’s name, recognizes the “opportunity to achieve a more profound impact on youth: to inspire, motivate, and support participants to achieve success both on and off the field while supporting needs of other children like Brady.”
It was in Arizona that Mike first met a professional lacrosse player for the Arizona Sting named Dan Dawson. The two connected but would lose contact with each other until recently when Dan saw Mike’s story on Twitter. Years before having relocated from Arizona back to the Boston area to be closer to Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, Mike and Dan were reunited in Uncasville, Conn. – of all places – before a professional lacrosse game on March 17. Dawson, who is a father to three small boys, was moved by the perseverance of Mike and his wife, Rachel, and their miracle son, Brady.
“Having the chance to hear Brady’s and Mike’s story was very emotional to say the least,” said Dawson. “We all share a love for lacrosse, and after hearing Brady’s mission, you realize we all share a love for life. It was great for the Knighthawks to finally meet Brady and get to interact with him. He lights up every room he walks in.”