Man, Diagnosed With Terminal Cancer, Keeps Positive Attitude - KMSP-TV

Man, Diagnosed With Terminal Cancer, Keeps Positive Attitude

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FORKED RIVER, N.J. -

Sometimes, you get inspired by ordinary people doing ordinary things, under extra-ordinary circumstances. Mickey Hirsch is a case in point. He's a handyman from Forked River, New Jersey, who travels to the Philadelphia region, doing odd jobs to make a buck. But he will probably not be doing so for much longer.

61 year old Mickey Hirsch and his son Matt could have started their bathroom remodeling job a day earlier. But Mickey was busy undergoing chemotherapy for the pancreatic cancer. The cancer will, someday soon, take his life.

"I have enough cancer in me to kill four people, six months ago," says Hirsch.

Weekly chemo treatments began shortly after a stunning June diagnosis: what Hirsch thought was indigestion and back pain, turned out to be a cancer that had already spread to his liver, stomach and lungs.

"Probably the scariest moment of my life," says Hirsch.

So why is a man given six months to live smiling?

"In my life, there's no room for grief or sadness. There's just no room for it. Makes no sense," says Hirsch.

Hirsch is no stranger to bad news. Back in 2009, his then-26 year old son Kevin died of the Swine Flu. Mickey used the tragedy to advocate for flu vaccinations. In fact, he physically drove many of his friends to get their shots.

"Rise above everything. I've taught my children, don't let life handle you. You handle life," says Hirsch.

Hirsch is uninsured. He works to pay the bills necessary to live, and to die. He figures that his funeral service, burial and gravestone will cost about $6,600, so he advertises to friends who may need work done around the house or yard.

His Facebook page features pictures of the casket he built for himself to save a few bucks. But Hirsch doesn't fixate on death.

"Never sit on your couch and feel sorry for yourself. Live your life to the fullest," says Hirsch.

Cancer has cost him most of his hair and 20-plus pounds, but he will not hide it. He wants people to look at him and say:

"That guy has cancer, but look at the fight he's putting on. He's not ashamed, he's not self-conscious..."

He works with his son as a teaching exercise, not just how to earn a living through plumbing or carpentry.

Mickey Hirsch is not a doctor, but he knows a little something about his body.

"I do not let cancer control me. My cancer might jump from organ to organ, but it will never reach my heart," says Hirsch.

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