Written by Kristy Brindley, Michael’s Mom & President of just1mike

Our story is a story of great love and great loss. It has also become the story of two Mikes and sudden cardiac arrest. The legacy of one Michael and the survival of another Michael.

One of the greatest loves of my life is my son Michael, the youngest of our three boys. Michael brought endless amounts of love, joy, laughter, and affection to all who knew him. He had the kindest heart and was truly a friend to everyone.

Michael was also passionate about sports and wanted to be a professional sportswriter and broadcaster. He started working towards that dream at the age of 13 by creating a sports blog which he named just1mike (just1mike.com). He posted 110 times in just three years. You might remember the ESPN sports duo, Mike Golic and Mike Greenberg … our Michael became just1mike.

He updated his blog’s “about” section just before going to camp the summer of 2016 and wrote,

“Hi, I’m Michael Brindley. I am an avid sports fan.  My favorite sports are baseball, basketball and football. I am always glued to the TV, computer, tablet or any other screen watching, reading or getting updates about sports.  If I’m not on the court playing basketball, I’m at home watching the games. My life goal is to become a professional sportswriter, this blog is the first step to my ultimate goal. There is no Golic or Greeny, just Brindley. just1mike. The future of sports has arrived.”

Almost eight years ago, June of 2016, we took Michael to camp, to a place he loved.  He would spend his third summer on a beautiful lake seeing friends from across the globe, engaging in a leadership program and having another magical summer experience. Michael was a rising high school junior who was looking forward to graduating from this program.

Four days into camp, Michael called me in the afternoon to tell me he was going to be the captain for his team at their first basketball game later that evening. He was so excited, and I was already counting the days … just ten more until I would go back and see him on family weekend.

That was the last time I spoke with my beautiful son. That night Michael had the game of his life, he made the winning shot and then suffered sudden cardiac arrest. Because life-saving measures weren’t taken in the first critical minutes, including bringing an AED to his side, our son did not survive. We got the phone call that is every parent’s worst nightmare and the unimaginable had struck our family.

To honor our son’s life and all that he brought to this world, we created the just1mike foundation in 2017. Our mission is to raise awareness and increase survival rates of sudden cardiac arrest in youth and young adults. The work of just1mike focuses on funding heart screenings (ECG testing) for youth and young adults as well as AED donations and partnerships. We started just1mike in suburban Chicago and continue serve the communities where we raised our family.

We moved from Illinois to northern California in 2018 and made Sonoma our permanent home in 2020. Soon after we moved, we discovered a large construction project behind the local high school that would be a $15 million outdoor sports complex. This seemed like the perfect way to bring our son Michael and the work of just1mike to our new community. Our initial plan was to donate one outdoor SaveStation housing and AED , but that gift grew to three outdoor stations and one indoor station thanks to the generous support of other community members.

Since this was the beginning of the pandemic and we were new to the community, we encountered many obstacles in giving this gift. We persevered and by March of 2022, two of the three outdoor stations along with the indoor station had been fully installed. Not even three months later, one of the outdoor AEDs was used to save a young life … Mikey’s life.

Mikey, 16 at the time, was playing basketball outdoors with three friends the evening of June 15, 2022 when he suddenly collapsed. At first his friends thought he might be goofing around but quickly realized something serious was happening. These boys, just 18 and 19, executed the cardiac chain of survival to perfection. Toby called 911, Mason began chest compressions and Nate ran for the AED which was just steps from the court. The boys delivered several shocks and continued CPR until the paramedics arrived. The stars were truly aligned that night for Mikey as the county helicopter was close by, landed on the outdoor court and flew him to the nearest trauma one hospital, normally a 45-minute drive.

I am always so thankful to share that Mikey recovered fully from cardiac arrest and is now a freshman in college.

 

Two Michaels, 16, playing basketball and suffering sudden cardiac arrest. But, with very different outcomes.

Our Michael has left us with a critical mission and our goal will always be to keep another family from suffering the indescribable pain of living without a beloved child. The just1mike foundation has now donated 30 AEDs and helped place 10 outdoor SaveStations where AEDs are publicly accessible and available 24/7 … with more on the way! We have also help bring life-saving heart screenings to over 10,000 youth.

In all we do, we are loving you Michael.

 

To find out more about how you can help save lives with just1mike visit https://www.just1mike.org/