EagleHerald Staff Writer
MENOMINEE—Miles Sorensen is a first-grader at St. John Paul II Academy. He likes Star Wars (in particular Baby Yoda from the Star Wars spin-off TV show “The Mandalorian”), sports, playing with Legos, doing puzzles, singing and drawing. He was also diagnosed with pre-B leukemia on Oct. 8, and the Menominee community rallied to help him almost as soon as the news broke.
“A month before we found out, he was having really bad leg pains and hip pains, and then it led to having a hard time breathing. We were back and forth from the ER trying to get it figured out,” said Jason Sorensen, Miles’ father. “We kept getting abnormal labs, which led to more abnormal labs and his diagnosis.”
Miles began having regular chemotherapy treatments on Fridays. “He has good days and bad days. Some days he has energy to do a lot of things, lately he’s had less and less,” Jason said.
Lindsey Sorensen, Miles’ mother, put a post on Facebook the night she and her husband learned about their son’s condition after calling close family members with the news. And then things took off. “Someone started a GoFundMe, and then people created even more stuff. Someone created a sweatshirt for Miles, and all of a sudden that turned into people ordering the sweatshirts, and it just snowballed from there,” Jason said.
“A lot has happened,” Lindsey said.
Of course, things didn’t stop there. JP2 academy raised over $1,100 to help Miles. Students and staff at Menominee High School shaved their heads to show their support, and the entire Menominee High School football team went to visit Miles. Menominee’s volleyball team also raised $1,000 for Miles and $1,000 for the Bay Area Cancer Center.
“People have been dying their hair orange and shaving their heads, Culver’s had a fundraiser for Miles, they’re all amazing,” Lindsey said. “He’s very loved by everybody. Everyone wants to make sure he’s staying safe and healthy.”
Miles also met Grey Ruegamer of the Green Bay Packers, a former player who now works as the director of player engagement. Miles’ mother said they had met Ruegamer a year ago, and he gave them his business card. She said they sent Ruegamer a photo of Miles looking over to Lambeau Field from his hospital room, and since then Ruegamer has sent Miles a video from the field every game day.
Dr. Mike Karkkainen organized an auction for the Oct. 30 Michigan vs. Michigan State football game, which included two nights at the East Lansing Marriott, mid-field seats and a private flight to and from Lansing, with all the proceeds going to the Sorensens to help with their expenses. The auction brought in $10,000 in donations.
And the support doesn’t even stop there. On Tuesday, Menominee football players and cheerleaders went to The Harbors to help with a drive-through fundraiser. For $5, people could get a loaded baked potato, a cookie and a bottle of water, with the proceeds going to both Miles’ family and the Make-A-Wish foundation.
Additionally, a fun run has also been organized and planned for Saturday with help from JP2 Academy and Libby Theuerkauf, a close friend of the Sorensen family. The walk starts at JP2 Academy and will pass by the Sorensen house. Participants are encouraged to make signs or carry “anything fun for Miles to see as we pass by his house.” Even more than this has been done so far, and even more is certainly to come.
“I don’t even know what else is coming up; a lot of times other people know before we know,” Jason said. “It’s been humbling. You think you have all your stuff together, and then things change.”
Today’s EagleHerald is certainly not the first time Miles has been in the news. He and his family were interviewed by TV-6 and other outlets at least three other times, according to Jason. Miles said he was nervous about being on TV, but his parents both affirmed his bravery.
“He’s the bravest six-year-old I’ve ever met,” Lindsey said, “and we love him so much.”