Michael Orbany, the St. Bernadette School fourth grader who inspired countless people with his motto, “NEGU” (Never, Ever Give Up), lost his 4-year battle with brain cancer early Thursday morning.
Michael’s story of survivorship and spirit was a rallying cry in the community throughout his struggle. The aftermath of his loss continues to echo the inspiration he brought to others.
“The prayers of the entire St. Edward Community go out to the Orbany Family today. Thank you, Big Mike, for inspiring us with your courage,’ reads a tweet from St. Edward High.
“What a miracle Michael was. He gave so much in such a short time – Hope, Faith, Spirit, and NEGU! And there was no better family to help him through this than Georgianne, Steve and Matthew (Michael’s mom, dad and brother),” writes a guest on Michael’s CaringBridge page.
Says another: “Thank you for sharing Michael with all of us. Our thoughts and prayers are with Michael and all of you. May you find comfort in knowing that NEGU will live on forever in each of us because of your special little boy, Michael. God Bless.”
A message from Georgianne, Michael’s mom, notes, “This child, May 1, Brain Tumor Awareness Month. What a profound statement to the world.”
Just under two months ago, on March 6, St. Bernadette hosted a Birthday Bash for Michael. Over 140 participants shaved their heads in a pledge drive, Brave the Buzz, that raised more than $50,000 in the fight against childhood cancer.
Michael was also adopted by the St. Edward High basketball team, which wore Michael’s NEGU motto on t-shirts that read ‘Eagles Soar for Big Mike’ on their way to this year’s state championship.
In the attached pictures, Michael looked on as his art teacher, Kristen Fox, had her head shaved at the St. Baldrick’s Day event at St. Bernadette. Other photos depict Michael with his family, and with classmates at his 2013 Birthday Bash