Student Spotlight: Micah Bieda – Westfield – Towne Post Network
Screenwriter / Matt Keating
Micah Bieda is the Honored Hero of the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society‘s (LLS) Student of the Year 2022 (SOY) campaign.
The SOY event is a leadership program for high school students that also benefits the LLS by raising funds to cure cancer. Micah is the campaign face for the Indianapolis area.
The LLS exists to fund and advance research on all types of blood cancers, in addition to providing support for patients and families. Each year they hold a program called Student of the Year, where high school students from central Indiana compete to raise as much money as possible for the LLS.
Micah‘Katie Bieda’s mother says he helped motivate contestants as they planned and executed their fundraising events.
“Many student candidates participate in the campaign because they have personal ties to blood cancers,” says Katie. “However, some applicants do not have a personal connection. As such, the honored hero can serve to connect with the work that each nominee does. Micah participated in virtual meetings with contestants and provided encouraging photos and decorations to contestants along the way. He attended the Grand Final celebration in early March to close out the campaign.
The grand finale took place on Friday, March 11.
Indianapolis-area students broke all SOY Indiana fundraising records. Eight students raised over $50,000, four students raised over $100,000, and the candidate class collectively raised over $900,000 for the LLS mission – the highest fundraising total ever for a campaign Indiana SOY.
Hamilton Southeastern High School senior Luke Andritsch, himself a childhood leukemia survivor, was named the campaign winner and 2022 Indianapolis student of the year. Runner-up was the tri-candidate team of Abby Batler, Arabella Jensen and Emma Urick, all from the Jesuit Preparatory School in Brebeuf.
Micah has already begun to grow in his own leadership as he attends meetings and shares parts of his cancer story.
“Micah was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia when he was 26 months old,” says Katie. “His treatment protocol required three and a half years of medical treatments, including chemotherapy, spinal taps and other intravenous medications. He was in active treatment through all ages of 2, 3, 4 and the first half of age 5. Because Micah was so young at the time of diagnosis, he fortunately does not remember much of his treatment – specifically, the first nine months of intensive treatment. As an honored hero, my husband and I had reason to speak in more depth with Micah about some of the treatment he received in his younger years.
Micah also made videos for the campaign and started telling his cancer story for himself, including what he remembers about treatment at Riley Hospital for Children – both the good and the bad.
“Micah was invited by a few of the contestants to attend their individual fundraisers,” Katie explains. “He participated in a high school talent show by telling jokes to the crowd, winning their hearts. He was also a temporary barber, as he cut the hair of the winning contestant‘s team members at one of their fundraisers.
Micah, an 8-year-old sophomore at Washington Woods Elementary, also plays soccer year-round, takes swimming lessons, and attends Genesis Church in Carmel.
Last January, Micah celebrated three years without treatment.
“He is about to be officially cured of cancer, which happens five years after treatment,” says Katie. “Micah has a younger brother, Levi, 7, and a younger sister, Julia, 4. Levi is a year younger than Micah and grew up surrounded by Micah.‘s cancer treatments. Julia was born while Micah was still in treatment, one year from the end of treatment.
Student Spotlight sponsored by Wittler Orthodontic