In Memoriam: Michael Faketty
We are deeply saddened to share a message of loss with our Padres Pedal community. On September 28, Mike Faketty, retired-Navy SEAL, Ironman Kona finisher, Padres Pedal Road Warrior and lung cancer fighter passed away at the age of 65.
Mike was a warrior in every sense of the word, having fought for our country for more than 28 years as a Navy SEAL and most recently battling cancer for the past five years. In 2012, Mike was diagnosed with Stage IV ALK-positive lung cancer, despite never being a smoker. He was given only a few months to live. After initial progress in treatment, Mike was transferred to Moores Cancer Center at UC San Diego Health where he enrolled in a clinical trial called AP26113, which is an ALK Inhibitor. The treatment shrunk the tumor in his lungs and prevented it from spreading. Mike knew it wasn’t a cure but was optimistic about his treatment and determined to live strong and make the most of each day. From an initial prognosis of only a few months, the clinical trial proved successful and Mike enjoyed four more years of good quality health and time with his family.
As it turned out, the AP26113 clinical trial was led by Dr. Lyudmila Bazhenova, a physician scientist who has received grant funding from Padres Pedal the Cause. She knew Mike liked to ride and suggested he get involved in Padres Pedal. So last year, Mike joined our community and within his first month raised $7,500. He was keenly aware of the importance of cancer research and challenged himself to ride 100 miles in our 2016 event. He was planning to ride both Saturday & Sunday this November and set a goal of raising $17,000. He’s been our top fundraiser for weeks and continues in that place.
To us and all who knew him, Mike is a hero and inspiration. Our community is diminished by his loss. We are also reminded of why our cancer research efforts here in San Diego are so important and the critical need for funding in order to win the fight against cancer.
In his own words, “they continue to make advances in cancer research and more are being developed every year, so there is hope. Stay strong, never quit and never ever give up.”
Mike’s SEAL teammates have started a team in his honor called Mike’s Mission. This November, they will ride and fundraise in his honor and welcome all to join their team.
Padres Pedal the Cause, Executive Director