Less than two weeks after the community rallied around ailing local Mike Pierson at a fair to raise money for his family, the local of more than 20 years lost his eight-month fight with pancreatic cancer.
Pierson succumbed to his disease Saturday morning, while in home hospice care.
He was 43.
Pierson was diagnosed last fall, after persistent abdominal pains and significant weight loss prompted him to see a doctor. He was given six months to live, and began an aggressive and taxing regimen of chemotherapy, but he remained strong and positive to the end.
“You just take it day by day and you just live life,” he told the Summit Daily in an interview just weeks before he died. “You don’t stop living.”
Pierson was born and raised in Ohio, and received his undergraduate degree from the University of Cincinnati, where he met his future wife, Megan, although the two were just friends at the time.
It was a pact with college friends that brought the life-long skier to Colorado to get a taste of the Rocky Mountains.
Pierson spent his nights bartending so he could ski during the day. A couple years later, Megan moved out to join him, and he shared his passion for the sport with her. He eventually settled into a career in property management, she now works with the Breckenridge Resort Chamber.
“We just started the normal Summit County life,” he said. “Started being together and working, skiing, enjoying camping and traveling the state quite a bit.”
Then, five years ago, they welcomed a baby boy, Kieran, to their family.
It was his son for whom Pierson was most concerned during the last weeks of his life.
After he was diagnosed last year, a group of his lifelong friends from his hometown in Ohio came out to visit, and during their stay came up with the idea of setting up a trust fund for Kieran, to help fund his education.
Pierson’s friends, wanting to do something, laid the foundation for the family. Summit County residents then stepped up to help as well, by offering contributions and attending a fair and fundraiser held June 27 in Breckenridge.
“I just can’t get over the kindness of the community,” Jen Goldstein, who works with Megan at the BRC, stated in an open email to members after the event. “The donations that came our way were overwhelming. People came into the office and took cash out of their wallets. Store owners pulled merchandise off their shelves. Restaurants supplied us with an abundance of food and the crowd (at the fair) was amazing.”
Information on services for Mike Pierson is not immediately available.