Raw, Real and truly Life-Changing is the best way to describe Michael Crossland.
He is one extraordinary young man who has defied the odds of not only life threatening cancer as a baby but was the only survivor of a horrific drug trial that killed all except Michael. He continues the battle to this very day and spending nearly a quarter of his life in hospital, he is a true fighter.
Where did you come from?
I grew up in a small coastal town on the east coast of Australia called Sawtell however most of my childhood was spent at Camperdown Children’s Hospital
Where you are right now?
I am sitting on my 146th flight for the year travelling home after a crazy speaking tour throughout Australia.
What challenges have you endured?
I was diagnosed at the age of 11 months old with an incurable Cancer of the central nervous system called Neuroblastoma and after years of chemotherapy and failed surgery I was asked to participate in a deadly trial drug. The side effects were horrific burning us from head to toe and sadly taking the life of all patients on the drug besides me. I say I am one of the lucky ones, not because I am still alive but because I wasn’t my mum. She was the one that had it tough; all I had to do was feel the pain but she had to make a choice to inject a drug into her child that has killed everyone who has ever taken it.
Side effects from the drug have left me with a very weak immune system, damaged lungs and heart. My first cardiac arrest was at the young age of 12!
What inspires you?
My mum, she is my strength and my inspiration but now having a new born baby boy who was 10 weeks early with a horrible blood infection and being told we only had 4 days with him, he is what gets me out of bed every day when my mind and body says no.
What is your message to others?
- Adversity doesn’t define you, how you deal with it does
- No one in your life will ever tell you what you can do, they’ll only ever tell you what you can’t
- Success is not about the size of your house it’s about the size of your heart.
- The quality of one’s life is not determined by the amount of days you live but rather what you fit into those days
- The world we live in now, it is so key to not wait until it’s to late before we decide to change
When did you realize you had a passion worth pursuing?
When I hit rock bottom in 2010 when I had bacterial meningitis, got fluid on the brain and then belspaulsy down the right side of my body. I wanted to quit, I was sick of fighting but then realised if I master the gift of giving I shall master the gift of life. I now run my own orphanage and school in Haiti along with the amazing team from Frontier Projects where every cent donated gets sent.
Tell us what motivates you?
Knowing in my heart that with each new day brings an opportunity to make a difference in somebody else’s life. I know I can’t change the world but if I change one person’s world everyday that’s a lot of people’s worlds getting changed whilst I am still here.
Can you share what adversity or challenges you’ve faced / how did you feel and how you moved through this period? (See above)
I realised that there are only two people in the world. Those that use there adversity, pain and suffering as the justification behind why they fail and those that use the exact same pain and suffering as the motivation to succeed. I realised through the power of the mind that we can get through some of the darkest days in our lives if we are filled with optimism, resilience and courage to never give up.
Do you still have obstacles & barriers?
In 2016 they found 4 tumours in my throat and was told that my tomorrows are not guaranteed. After surgery and the successful removal of 3 tumors I have realised that each day is a bonus and a gift. I’ll be sure that when my time is up on this earth, my tank will be empty and there will be nothing left in reserve. I find it sad that people live this life like it’s a dress rehearsal..
Tell us what inspires you to do what you do?
I think god gives his greatest challenges to his toughest soldiers. I found my purpose in life and what an honour that is.
What do you consider to be the most courageous thing you’ve done?
Opening an orphanage in Haiti has been amazing, buying my mum a house was a privilege becoming a dad has been phenomenal. Never quitting when facing death in the eye I think would be the most courageous.
What does a future you look like / where do you see yourself?
I think we must keep our head where our body is at, not look too far forward, not regret about our past but to just truly be present.
I see myself being healthy, filled with gratitude daily and being the best husband, a great dad and a wonderful friend.
Who is your real life hero – and why?
My son Lachlan, he has opened a new valve in my heart that I never knew existed. Throughout his battle I walked in my mum’s shoes for the very first time and realised it’s much easier lying in the bed as appose to standing next to it.
If you could give any advice to others wanting to succeed, what would it be?
Stay humble, stay true and remember the quality of one’s life is not dictated nor determined by the number of days we live but rather what we fit into those days.
Go live every day and when chasing success in can’t be the materialistic possession we strive for but rather joy, happiness and health.