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Meet Mike Cohen

Today we’d like to introduce you to Mike Cohen.

Mike, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
Throughout the first thirty two years of my life, I never thought my story of beating cancer over 2.5 years of chemotherapy treatments, congestive heart failure (#1), blood clots in my lungs and cycling across the United States six years after my last chemo treatment, was enough to garner respect and was worthy of sharing with full intentions of inspiring and motivating my potential and eventual audience.

On July 27, 2017, I suffered a heart attack, which was caused by a golf ball sized blood clot in the left ventricle of my heart (#2) due to several years of chemotherapy, my heart finally needed some help. I received an LVAD (Left Ventricle Assist Device – powered by batteries/constant power) via open heart surgery to help my heart with its function.

Lastly, six months later on February 25, 2018, via another open heart surgery, I received a heart transplant to replace my completely damaged heart. I finally had my answer, my story was ready to be told and shared with the world.

In October of 2019, I am going to be cycling from San Diego to South Carolina/Jacksonville, FL to meet my heart donor’s family and pay my respects at my heart donor’s burial site.

Has it been a smooth road?
More of an unpaved road. Before all of my health issues started in 2004, I was on track to become a chef. I attended culinary school in New York City. After the first semester, I was diagnosed with leukemia. I had two and a half years of chemotherapy treatments, spinal taps, and bone marrow biopsies.

That set me back a bit. I was struggling with cancer survivorship post treatments, trying to find and figure out who I was and what path I should take. I voluntarily admitted myself to a psychiatric hospital to help me in anyway they could. I couldn’t understand why I survived and not others, as well as the direction I was going.

After prescribed a bunch of antidepressant and mood stabilization medication, I sought out additional therapy. After speaking with a therapist, he suggested using my story to help others. I stopped using the medication, and I took his advice and never looked back.

We’d love to hear more about what you do.
My life’s work is focusing on showing and doing. I use my life experience, adversities, perspectives and mindset to influence, inspire and motivate everyone around me, to be able to overcome any adversity they might be facing.

Recognizing the opportunities in failure and in pain and utilizing them to focus on “it can always be better and it can always be worse, Never give up.”

Using various avenues such as photography, social media, podcasting, speaking engagements, and cycling events, I focus on showing my actions with intentions of helping as many people as I possibly can.

Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Absolutely. Starting with the weather, I’m originally from New York City, so seasons are constantly a part of our lives.

Out here not having snow and rarely rain, that allowed me to constantly be active and outside after I received my LVAD (Left Ventricle Assist Device – powered by batteries/constant power to assist my heart function) not to be electrocuted during my routine. That access to so many beautiful locals around the city and outside of the city was a godsend to how well I am doing a post heart transplant.

Youth. It’s a young city, there’s a ton of opportunity to grow and develop or join a community. Coming from a big city and now loving living in a smaller city, I’d rather be a part of that constant energy and growth than to follow what’s already been established.

Being able to train, ride and take photos is an absolute dream. I can’t imagine living anywhere else.

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