PEPPERELL, Mass. - Michael Foley spends hours making wooden ducks in his Pepperell home. It’s something his dad did, too.
"Everyone laughs at me for using googly eyes, but these were my father's ducks, so I made them exactly like my father," Foley, founder of Ducks for Cancer, said.
Both Foley’s father and sister died from cancer. Now Foley is fighting his own battle.
“'I'm extremely grateful to still be here, to be in the game, to be alive," Foley said.
Four years ago, Foley was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer. It spread to other parts of his body including his brain and liver. Between surgeries, chemo, and other treatments, its been a tough road.
“I spent over two years in bed, just not doing anything. With the meds I was on I got to over 300 pounds. I had cancer in my hips. I couldn’t walk. My wife was the one who got me through it. Without a doubt, I never would have made it without her," Foley said.
Besides his family, there’s something else keeping Michael going, his company Ducks for Cancer. Hundreds of wooden ducks are waddling in front yards all over Pepperell and surrounding towns.
“It's beautiful," Foley said.
Foley handcrafts and paints each one in his home workshop and they’re sold at a handful of local stores.
“It is a great mission that Mike is on. I think it hits very heavy for us," said Stephen Dahlgren, general manager of The Barn Door, a grocery store in Pepperell.
The proceeds from the ducks are going to the Chemo Bag Project, which provides cancer patients comfort bags, while receiving treatment. So far, Foley has raised almost $10,000.
“Pay it forward without a doubt, It’s just paying it back," Foley said, who is still receiving immunotherapy treatment himself, but says one day he’ll be cured.
“In my heart and in my mind, I’m gonna beat cancer," Foley said. "One of my doctors told me day one, you just have to fight long enough until we have cure, until we have a pill that you take and the cancer goes away. And that's it. That's what I’m waiting for. They will have it someday and I’m going to be there when it happens."
After all, Foley says his ducks come with a lifetime guarantee.
Ducks can be found at:
- Apple Meadow Hardware Store (Townsend)
- The BarnDoor (Pepperell)
- Farmers Exchange (Townsend)
- Wilkins Farm Stand (Pepperell)
You can also contact: firstname.lastname@example.org