Michael Battipaglia


Michael's Story...

As told by Michael Battipaglia

Champion Status


Share some of your passions and joys, including the things that are most important to you.

What is most important, of course, is my family. My wife, Mary Ellen (36 years and counting!), our three adult children, and one grandchild with another on the way Spending time with our children and being an important part of their lives is what brings us the most joy. We love watching their journey as they grow into wonderful young adults with exciting futures.

My passion is cycling. I love the challenge of drudging up a hill and the sense of satisfaction I get from completing a ride, whether it be 30 miles or 100 miles. I love the quietness of a ride. It’s one of the few times I am completely unplugged from the world—no phones, computers, email, texts, etc.—so it’s a peaceful time to be one with nature and my surroundings. I highly recommend cycling to all!

Tell us about your cancer-related journey

I was only 33 years old when I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. Our children were very young; in fact, our youngest was born only two months prior to my diagnosis. I’ll never forget the day because it was the day before Christmas Eve. Our family physician dismissed my persistent cough, but Mary Ellen insisted I go for an x-ray. Although we had some last-minute shopping to do that day, we stopped at a local radiology facility. An x-ray and CT scan showed a giant tumor in my chest. This was the beginning of my journey. Six months of chemotherapy plus one month of radiation therapy followed.

What are you inspired by?

I am inspired by people who dedicate their lives to making the world a better place, especially scientists and healthcare professionals who work diligently behind the scenes looking for cures for various ailments, especially cancer. How can one not be inspired by their dedication to the cause? Indeed, were it not for scientists who somehow figured out how to turn a deadly weapon (mustard gas used in WW1) into one of the first chemotherapy drugs used to treat lymphoma, I wouldn’t be here today.

What is your favorite mantra, quote, or saying?

My favorite quotes revolve around perseverance and the willingness to keep going in the face of failure. "You learn more from your failures than from your successes." "You always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take." This holds true in almost all aspects of life, including medical research! Scientists can toil away for many years, failing many times, before making a breakthrough.

What advice would you have for people on their own cancer-related journey?

Take it one day at a time, and hopefully before too long your treatments will be over and you can get on with your life. It’s hard to believe this can be true when you first get the diagnosis, but I’ve seen it happen time and time again. Keep your eye on the prize and know that you’ll have good days and bad days, but every day is one day closer to being cured. 

Why is ICRF important to you?

I know firsthand that the answer to cancer treatment is research. And that’s what I love about ICRF. ICRF funds the research projects of brilliant and innovative Israeli scientists. The grants are driven by the quality of the scientist’s project, the potential for near-term success, or a new understanding of cancer. Not only is it more cost-effective to fund research in Israel, the funding enables the scientists to remain at home with their families without sacrificing career opportunities. We shouldn’t lose sight of the people behind the microscope.

The dedication of ICRF staff is palpable. Every member of the ICRF team is laser-focused on the mission. Engaging with ICRF is like being on an exciting journey together, working to solve one of the world’s most difficult challenges—the cure for cancer. What can be more inspiring?