Michael Montgomery’s favorite animal is the wolf, he has a strong connection to his Native-American heritage, and he loves skateboarding. All of these aspects of Michael’s life were the basis and inspiration to create a signature-model skateboard deck, designed in collaboration with Mark Conahan, a Portland, Oregon skateboarder/graphic designer.
I was a volunteer mentor when I met Michael. He and his family expressed interest in being part of a mentoring program to gain additional support through the many struggles Michael endured as a result of his chronic health condition, Cystic Fibrosis. We were matched through a local agency because both of us shared the same passion: skateboarding. It sounded like a good fit to me!
On our first outing to a skate-park, he dropped into a pool larger than anything he had done so far, and fell. He slid on his chest, and lifted up his shirt to expose a tube that was used to administer food and medication more easily and directly to his stomach. You can imagine my reluctance to allow him to continue skating. However, Michael was as persuasive as he was determined, and the next time he went up to the deck and dropped in, he rolled smoothly through the transition.
The look on his face was one I had seen on other skateboarders. It was one of unwavering pride without a trace of doubt. He transcended his fear, focused, and rode away. Skaters need these intense thrills in order to overcome life’s frustrations in a healthy way. Michael was more than just coping with his condition; he was above it!