Midway ISD student diagnosed with leukemia shares journey in a unique way

Published: Oct. 2, 2023 at 11:03 AM CDT
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WOODWAY, Texas (KWTX) - Midway ISD student at South Bosque Elementary School, Michael Montague, is sharing his journey of battling leukemia on Tik Tok while receiving overwhelming support from his community.

His dad, Walter Montague, describes Michael as filled with energy, especially on the baseball field.

“From the second he wakes up in the morning ‘till the time he goes to bed at night, he is full blown energy,” Walter said.

So, when he started to feel tired and sluggish, his parents knew something was wrong.

“I took a nap,” Michael said was a big factor in realizing there was a problem.

“He’d really lost a lot of energy, and he started to bruise, and he started to have muscle pains and bone pains,” his dad, Walter, said. “We thought it was growing pains. Thought he was maybe facing some anxiety for the new school year, but ultimately, after going to a few doctors, once they got the blood work, they pretty quickly realized it was a form of blood cancer and ended up being leukemia.”

The evening after hearing that news was tough for the entire family as they struggled with unknowns.

“We really struggled that first night and we decided...to go ahead and get it out there so that our friends knew what was going on, our family knew what was going on, and so we created this private Facebook group,” he said.

The Facebook group, Pray for Michael!, shares his journey and gives updates on his treatments and surgeries, asking followers to continue to pray for the fifth grader.

Michael’s community has cheered him on in the stands at his baseball games every year, but, now they are cheering him on to beat his battle with cancer. Walter said the Facebook group grew from 15 followers to more than 700.

“People are praying for me and hoping I get better,” Michael said. “That really helps me.”

“The outpouring of support from the community has just been unbelievable,” Walter said. “We couldn’t ask for a better community, better group of friends and family that’s really been here to support us this whole way.”

Another activity that Michael said has helped him a lot over the past few weeks is posting videos and sharing his fight with cancer on TikTok.

“The first 30 days were really, really hard,” Walter said. “Michael really struggled on the leukemia, and it helped to whenever we had a chance to help him to make these videos.”

He said his older sister is a videographer, who introduced Michael to a TikToker named Tony who shared his journey with lymphoma.

“That made us think, ‘What if we start my own account, like a new account,’ and start making all these TikToks about my journey like he did,” he said.

Since the start of his treatment, he has posted a handful of videos, matching trends of the app, showing his doctor visits, hospital stays, interesting cravings he has gotten from steroid treatments and more.

What may have been tough for Michael, shaving his long blonde hair, was made easier and fun in a way as the TikTok showed him and his best friend, Roman Pruitt, shaving their heads together.

“I know how much Michael liked his hair, and it kind of just showed him not to be scared,” Roman said.

Roman also helped organize and create shirts, caps, and armbands to support his friend, starting a website called Merch4Michael.

“It says, ‘But he won’t get up that easy,’” Roman said. “It’s from a song that Michael likes.”

Michael said its his walk up song for baseball games, and Roman and Michael have played several baseball games together for around three years.

‘Pray for Michael, play for Michael’ is on many of the merchandise on the site, along with a baseball, Michael’s favorite sport, and the orange cancer ribbon for leukemia. All proceeds from the fundraiser will go Michael and his family as gift cards to use as they see fit, according to the website.

Businesses and organizations have also gone out of their way to support him during this fight, including wearing orange and gifting Michael a signed bat by Astros José Altuve, Michael’s favorite baseball player.

“It’s just like knowing that somebody would go through so much just to get this for me just made me happy,” Michael said.

As of late September, Michael is in remission and is undergoing more chemotherapy at home.

“It’s just like the first day when I figured out I had leukemia to now is so much different,” Michael said. “More different because I was hooked up to all this stuff on my chest, and then, now, I just have this one little port. I feel like it’s a lot easier.”

Michael said he will continue fighting this journey with plans to one day cure leukemia himself.

“We wake up every day hoping it’s a good day, and sometimes it is, and sometimes it’s not,” Walter said. “But, his resiliency through all this has been unbelievable.”