In May, 2000 we received the heart
wrenching news that Mike Paul died
on April 18th .
He is survived by his wife Joan and daughter Vicki. I
first met Mike via the Internet in August 1998. He was most instrumental
in forming the ARDS Support Center.
Mike was a graduate of the US Naval
Academy, a former Naval Aviator who had served tours of duty flying
in Vietnam and Cambodia, and a founder and officer of a major public
(NASDAQ) computer company. In 1997, while working and living
in Paris, he was diagnosed with lung cancer. Returning to the
US for a critical lung operation, he then contracted ARDS and
survived a 31 day fight for his life. He was disabled with
only 30% of lung capacity as a result of ARDS. Rather than
retreat into his disability, he instead chose to work at maximizing
his physical condition. During this period, he realized there
must be more people trying their best to recover from this
In the process of rehabilitation Mike
decided to put his efforts into helping others less fortunate, a
task he had long dreamed of during his business and military
careers. In addition to helping form the ARDS Support Group,
Mike was instrumental in the funding and organization of a hospital
affiliated hospice, a substance abuse recovery center for young
women, and a college tuition fund for economically deprived youth.
He personally stayed involved in each of these projects as well as
spending time with ARDS victims and their loved ones.
In 1998 Mike suffered a recurrence of
lung cancer and had to withdraw from offering his special brand of
hope to others whose lives had been visited by ARDS. He
underwent chemotherapy and progress had been made. Mike was
caught in a sandstorm in Palm Springs in April 2000. Being
oxygen dependent he could not get his breath and was not able to
I had the great privilege of calling
Mike Paul a friend. He was so much more than a friend to me.
He was the rock upon which ARDS Support was built. In the
early days of this effort I was becoming discouraged from the lack
of interest by the medical profession. Mike told me, "We
must show them what we can do". Together, Mike, my
brother John and myself pounded out the first issue of the ARDS
Support Newsletter. The rest is history. We have since
been joined by some of the finest ARDS doctors/researchers in this
I spoke with Mike several times on the
phone. No matter how serious his condition was he could always
bring one to laughter. He told me that he knew the cancer
would get him one day but meanwhile he was going to live life to
it's fullest. We talked about how there was a certain peace
with knowing what one would die of. It gave Mike time to put
his house in order. But he did not stop living. He and
his wife were building a new home in California. They hoped to
have several years of happiness there. He embraced each day
and lived it to its fullest.
Mike Paul left his mark on this earth
with his desire to help others. He accomplished this Post
ARDS. Courage, strength, stamina and grace are qualities that
Mike possessed in great abundance. His love of life and
humankind was tremendous. There is a void in my heart that
will never be filled. Mike was the most special of people.
Rest in peace, Mike. Someday you and I will meet and our
meeting will hold only joy and peace.