About Mike

We could write a lot about Mike here. We could write paragraphs about how much he meant to us and others.

But it’s better to see all of the people in his life share their stories o’ Mike.


  1. Posted by peytond | May 24, 2008, 2:46 pm

    Mike is my uncle. He was loved by so many people. I dont think he ever knew but he was a hero to me. He got sober and made me proud.I know that he loved his life and the people in it. He taught me something that I will live by for the rest of my life, the true meaning of live life like there is no tomorrow. I still don’t fully understand how he meant celbrate his life.I miss him more then anything.I wish every single day that I could have spent more time with him and have gotten closer. I’ve seen how devastated my dad was and it made me realize no matter how much me and my sister argue anything could happen and we could loke eachother. I know he enjoyed his life, even the day he died. I remember walking into the room he was in and seeing him and seeing that he looked like he was really dying, just skin and bones, no fat, no nothing. I’m gonna miss him so much but I know he is in a better place with people and watching over me.

  2. Posted by leslie | May 25, 2008, 12:44 am

    He was always amazed by your kind and gentle spirit. I have to work to remember him before he was sick, too, but those memories will come back to us in time.

  3. Posted by jetodd18 | May 25, 2008, 1:57 am

    I feel so blessed to have known Mike and to have had him in my life, even though is wasn’t for very long. I have a younger sister, but I had always wished that I had a fun older brother, and I got that when Mike moved in across the street. He was witty and sarcastic but had such a great sense of humor and was disgustingly smart. Some of my favorite times in Savannah was sitting on Mike and Janet’s front porch and just being. There was laughter, there were tears because of laughter, there were some serious moments, there was honesty, but my favorite was the good conversations we all always had.

    I lived alone for my final quarter at SCAD (roomie went to France), and a few days after she had left, I got a knock at my door and there was Mike, in his flannel PJs. He had come over to chat and to see how I was doing with Becca being gone, and then he, Janet and I spent the afternoon just talking (and me not doing homework). He was the only person willing to play Monopoly with me- it’s my favorite game and no one ever wanted to play! But he did, and we used his Star Wars (or Trek) game board…yeah he won. It was really weird not seeing Mike and Janet on their front stoop after they moved. One time Becca and I had gotten a wee tipsy and decided that we wanted to hang out with them, but instead of ringing the doorbell and asking them to come chat, we plopped ourselves on the front stoop and waited. Their faces were priceless when they saw two slightly drunk girls on their property.

    I really do have a lot of great memories of Mike and I’m holding onto them for dear life. I miss him so much. I feel fortunate too, because when I did finally meet him, things were on the upswing as far as his cancer treatments were going, and while he was tired he always had a positive attitude. He and I even talked about having our own house flipping business in North Carolina- he was so proud to have a tool chest full of big burly man tools and loved doing the carpentry work that he did when he was able to stop using the nephrostomy tube for that short time.

    He will always be one of my favorite people.

  4. Posted by leslie | May 29, 2008, 10:54 am

    Sometimes, things remind me of a Mike story. I had an e-mail this morning asking about the “crazy vacation.”
    That was in April 1990. My father had died in January and we wanted to do something in memory of him as spring began to break.
    Daddy used to say that the best months of the year are the ones little girls are named for — April, May and June. So, we scheduled a 3-day vacation over Easter weekend to do a whale watch because Daddy had loved the ocean and he loved P’town.
    We were quite the rowdy gang — me, Mike, his favorite cousin, Shannon, my stepmother, Barbara, and my friend, Nancy Cacioppo. We all stayed in one hotel room with two double beds and a cot.
    We sang at the drop of a hat. Literally. One of us would drop a hat and we’d all burst into song:
    “We’re on vacation, we’re on vacation
    And we won’t go home ’til our money is all gone!”
    Mike was really into it until there was a pretty girl at the next table who was making eyes at him. Then, all of a sudden, he was Mr. Sophisticated.
    At dinner that night, we were a little more subdued until the nice looking waiter started making eyes at Mike. Then he wanted to be obnoxious.
    The whale watch was wonderful. As we got on the boat, Mike said, “I’ll know Grandpa’s spirit is happy if we see whales.”
    We sailed and sailed until the captain was about to turn back and suddenly there were three whales right beside the boat, observing us as much as we were observing them. It was remarkable. Then on the way back in, two more humpbacks came up to the boat.
    The next morning, as we were leaving, Barbara wanted to take a walk on race Point Beach, where she and my father had srtrolled so many times. As she walked, two whaled frolicked off the beach.
    We watched for awhile and as we left the beach, Mike whispered, “Goodbye, Grandpa.”
    That crazy vacation was one of the high points of all our lives.

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Visit our new web site

It's official! We are WNC Health Advocates.
Please visit our new web site, Visit WNC Health Advocates
The new name reflects what we do -- advocate for health care for everyone and help people access and navigate our current health care system.
While we still hold onto the memory and the generous spirit of Mike Danforth, we need people to be able to see our name and understand who we are.

Help Life o’ Mike

We need your help now more than ever. Your tax-deductible donation will help us get Patient Pals and Family Friends to more people in need of peer support. Please consider a gift in honor or in memory of a loved one.
Donate here or mail your donation to Life o' Mike, PO Box 1213, Asheville, NC 28802.

Patient Pals & Family Friends

Life o' Mike has a peer support program for people with one or more serious or chronic medical issues or disabilities.

We aim to reduce isolation and fear among people who have conditions, including psychiatric illness, HIV/AIDS, diabetes, mild dementia or other cognitive disorder or disability, thereby reducing depression and complications as people learn to improve self-management of their medical conditions.

Patient Pals help alleviate feelings of isolation and frustration. They can help people develop a list of questions to ask the doctor and then accompany the person to the doctor to make sure all the questions are answered, taking notes to be sure the person understands the doctor’s answers.

Our trained volunteers also accompany their “Pals” to art exhibits, movies and walks outdoors, meet for coffee, call to check in and more.

Our Pals have experienced weight loss, improvement in diabetes, HIV, psoriasis, depression and more, just because they have someone who cares about them. Some relationships develop into longer-term friendships; other Pals move on to more independent lives.

Family Friends are there to help caregivers and other family members grow into their new role.

We need volunteers, who are asked to donate a minimum of one hour a week. Training is free and includes information on active listening, ways to help and when to know more help is needed.

And of course, we need funding.

To learn more, call Leslie Boyd at 828-243-6712 or e-mail lifeomike@gmail.com.

Life o’ Mike honors Joe Eblen

Life o' Mike presented its first Michael T. Danforth Community Service Award to Joe Eblen at a luncheon on June 8, in the Friendship Hall of First Congregational Church, 20 Oak St., Asheville.
Joe, seen here with Leslie Boyd, left, and his wife, Bobbie, has spent his life helping children and families, both as a coach and game official for more than 60 years, and as founder of Eblen Charities.

Start From Seed

Life o' Mike has a new program- Start from Seed (SFS).
SFS is a volunteer doula program aimed at providing non-medical, comprehensive support to low income, high-risk women and families of Buncombe County focusing on three areas:

1. We help new doulas with certification and training in return for their participation as a volunteer doula for SFS

2. We mentor volunteer doulas with their first few clients

3. Our volunteer doulas provide birth and postpartum doula services to low income, high risk moms, providing support and tools to empower them as a new parent.

A birth doula is a trained and experienced professional who provides continuous physical, emotional and informational support to the mother before, during and just after birth; a postpartum doula provides emotional and practical support during the postpartum period.

Start from Seed clients are referred to us from the Buncombe County Department of Health’s Nurse-Family Partnership Program, Western North Carolina Community Health Services, and Mission Hospital. The Program is intended and designed for growing clients’ inner strength and helping them gain empowerment to help them cope with the emotional, physical and mental challenges of childbirth, labor, and motherhood.

Our new moms and their infants have many needs. If you would like to help them get off to a good start, please visit our Start from Seed web site: Start from Seed, or call Program Director Chelsea Kouns at 804-814-9946.

Events in the community

Free birth and labor classes

Peaceful Beginning Doula Services holds free birth forums, Peaceful Birth, 6:30-8 p.m. the last Thursday of every month (except November) at Spa Materna, 640 Merrimon Ave., above The Hop, in Asheville.
All are welcome, expectant women and their partners are encouraged to attend anytime during their pregnancy. We also encourage doulas and other maternal/child professionals to attend and share in the discussions. The forums are "birth circle" style, focusing on normal birth which follows the Lamaze Six Care Practices for Healthy Birth. The forums are led by certified and experienced educators.

NAMI Family-to-Family Class

NAMI of Western Carolina holds 12-week classes for families and caregivers of individuals with a severe mental illness 6-8:30 p.m. Mondays at Charles George VA Medical Center, 1100 Tunnel Road in Asheville. The course covers major mental illnesses and self-care. Registration required. Info at 828-299-9596 or rohaus@charter.net.

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