TRUMBULL, Conn. -- When Michael Murray learned that numerous surgeries and treatments to deal with a cancerous tumor had destroyed his left leg, he didn’t hesitate to follow his doctor’s advice that he have his it amputated below the knee.
“I have no regrets to this day with my decision,” he said. "I never looked back when I made that decision."
As a cancer survivor, he decided to host Community Charity Tag Sale at Trumbull Self Storage at 245 Spring Hill Road in Trumbull from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. The funds will go for the Swim Across the Sound, which helps cancer patients at St. Vincent’s Hospital.
Murray came up with the idea for a tag sale when he was cleaning out an old storage unit at the site and decided to give the items to charity. He approached Jean Romano, property manager at the Trumbull Self Storage, about hosting an event there and she readily agreed.
“She was more than willing to do it. She was a very helpful person," he said.
Murray developed bone cancer in his left foot when he was 21. Three years of surgeries and treatments destroyed the tumor — but the tumor had also destroyed his ankle.
"After three years of trying, my doctor sat down on my bed and said: 'You had better think about amputation because there is nothing more we can do,' " Murray said.
Murray said many people have inspired him, including his family and Ted Kennedy Jr., another amputee.
He also cited Jeff Keith, who lost a leg to cancer as a 12-year-old and threw himself into a life filled with physical activities. Keith founded Swim Across America, Swim Across the Sound and Connecticut Challenge, all of which have helped raised millions for cancer research.
While he pointed to Kennedy, Keith and his family for their inspiration and support, Murray was also determined to lead a life that wasn't constrained by his amputation.
"I'm very proud of myself for getting myself back out there in the community," he said. "Once I lost my leg it changed me. It changed my perspective on life.”
Murray, along with his niece Lauren Malatesta, have their own swim/walk team that participates in the Swim Across the Sound Aquathon & Walk-a-thon at Fairfield YMCA. This year the event is on July 29. The team, Michael's Mermaids, was started by 13-year-old Lauren to honor Murray.
“What I really wanted to do was to make a team to honor him and to honor everyone who suffered from cancer past and present," said the eighth-grader at Madison Middle School.
"She told me, 'You inspire me,' " her proud uncle said. "She's a smart little cookie."