Proud to be from Pittsburgh: Michael's Meanies

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PITTSBURGH —

A cancer patient at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh has come up with a way to help every child battling the disease.

Michael Carroll is just 16 but he has battled cancer twice.

At six, he was diagnosed with leukemia.

“I didn't know until after it was all said and done that that could have been the end of me,” he said.

He beat it but radiation treatment he received led to a brain tumor and surgery this past summer.

Then one night when he was on Facebook, he came up with an idea to help every pediatric cancer patient.

He designed and drew “Michael’s Meanies”—stress balls in the shape of childhood cancers.

"They're too young. They don't understand,” he said. “This can have something to show this what you have. Take your anger out on it."

There’s Terry the Terrible Tumor, Lily Lymphoma and Lousy Louie Leukemia.

 "This one is a personal one because I went through this," he said of Louie.

Carroll said his comical characters show that cancer doesn’t have to be frightening.

They also give kids an outlet for their frustration.

"If they are angry or in pain, squeeze these, kick these, throw these,” he said.

Carroll wants to raise $10,000 so he can deliver his first batch of Meanies by Christmas.

"My mom has told me God has a reason for putting me through this, and maybe this is my reason," he said.

Carroll wants his Meanies to go global, but his first deliveries will be to UPMC and WVU Children’s Hospital in Morgantown, where he was treated for leukemia.

To learn more about his project, log on to http://michaelsmeanies.com/

Donations can also be mailed to Wesbanco, c/o Michael’s Meanies, 142 Zane Street, Wheeling, WV 26003.