Cancer survivor, athlete finds home in a capella

Posted at 7:24 PM, Feb 01, 2016
and last updated 2016-02-01 20:51:26-05

On the South Milwaukee High School football field Michael Christensen is called “MC,” “Dyna-Mike,” Big Mike,” or most often: a fighter, because Michael has beaten cancer three times.

“My whole life has basically been a big struggle,” Michael explained.  “But with every time, you always get a feeling of hope because you have beaten it before.”

But never before had the 16 year old been involved in something like football.

“Coach [Derek] Hoff, our coach here at South Milwaukee, he confronted me one day because he saw I was down in the dumps,” Michael described.

So coach invited him to be part of the team.

“I just liked the brotherhood of it, like going into battle with your brothers,” Michael said.

But battle is tough, it can be rough, so Michael could never play in a game. He was at every practice but he wanted to do something without limitations.

“Seeing a bunch of guys playing football who are in musicals and a cappella and stuff like that, I thought it was pretty cool,” he explained.

Even cooler, Michael loves to sing.

“The first thing I went for is our a cappella group Delta V,” he said.  “Like when I'm up on stage or singing or whatever, there's not really like, 'Oh, I can't do this because my knees.' or whatever the issue is.  I can just be a part of it.”

In the auditorium is where Michael can be Michael, but it’s also where his teammates saw a whole new side of him.

“When I saw him in the group, I asked, ‘What are you doing here?’” Grant Latus recounted with a smile.  “And I was like, ‘I've never heard you sing.’”

Now they sing together in Delta V.

“He's a good singer, man,” Grant said.  “I love singing with that guy, day in and day out.  Or just like sitting at lunch making beats with him.  Just doing what we love.”

Michael made the decision not to play football anymore because he's right where he belongs.