The goal of this website is to:

  • keep alive the memory of our son & brother, Mike.
  • share the beauty of Vancouver Island—through Mike's eyes.
  • provide information about the disease that took his life—Cryptococcus gattii (C. gattii).

Mike loved the outdoors. He spent countless hours hiking the trails and exploring the beaches of Vancouver Island. He had many interests but in the last couple of years focused on his post secondary education and on photography. Mike took great pride in his photography but at the same time kept it close to him. He rarely used filters to enhance his photos preferring instead to use the natural colours of nature.

Why did Mike contract C. gattii? Yes, he spent many hours hiking on the island but so do many of us. Apparently most of us living here have been exposed to C. gattii and if tested we would have antibodies to this disease. C. gattii is infectious to humans by inhalation. Did Mike enter a ‘hotspot’, an area of high concentration of the very small cells or spores and inhale more than his system could handle? We will never know. We do feel that when someone has symptoms as Mike did, it would be highly beneficial to test for C. gattii. To us it would make sense to rule it out before wasting time and money on other tests.

In Mike's case, he was working up to the week before he died. On the surface his symptoms seemed flu like but he wasn't feeling well and was looking for help from doctors in our medical clinic. The doctors did not think of C. gattii as a possibility. Even at our suggestion, it was dismissed because there did not appear to be anything in the tests to indicate C. gattii. On July 12, 2006 Mike was admitted to hospital. When we requested Mike be tested for C. gattii, the doctor in the Intensive Care Unit agreed to do the tests. Unfortunately the tests came too late for Mike, he died later the same day from Disseminated Cryptocossus—caused by Cryptococcus gattii infection.

We have provided information about Mike's case as well as links to Cryptococcus gattii sites. It is hoped that after viewing this site and the links you will be better informed. If you live on or have visited our beautiful Vancouver Island, British Columbia and find yourself with the symptoms provided on the links please ask to be tested for C. gattii. This disease is low risk and treatable but early diagnosis is very important.

Our hope is that family and friends visiting this site will remember Mike with his warm smile and friendly bright blue eyes. Remember how he loved life and had so many plans and dreams. Remember one of his favourite phrases—

“WE SHALL BE KNOWN BY THE TRACKS WE LEAVE BEHIND”