Updated: Sep 6, 2021
Photo Credit: Zack Hill
Perseverance, determination, never giving up. That’s the mentality of one Mike Lithgow, a resident of Northeast Philadelphia, and a die-hard Flyers fan to this day. The amazing thing about that sentence is “to this day”, not every day is promised.
A few years ago, “Big Mike” was suddenly diagnosed with Stage 4 cancer of the mouth. A battle his family was never been prepared for, a battle in which we wouldn’t know the outcome. The tough mentality of Mike went through days of pain, and days of moments where I’m sure he just wanted to give up, but he never did. Now, let’s get into his love for his team, and we will return with more on his story.
Mike is a 4-4 Philadelphia sports fan. A die-hard Eagles fan, with his famous saying “Birds of a feather, Flock together”, and a huge Flyers fan. There may just be none better. Mike is the guy who is screaming “Cup crazy” during a preseason game, a guy who is passionate about every play and every game. I remember Mike watching the 2010 Stanley cup run and the look on his face when they lost that sad game 6. I’m not sure I ever seen him so mad.
The great stories of him and his buddies down at the 1974-1975 Stanley cup parade, and how many headbutts he delivered to every fan, he is quite the character. The Flyers are everything to him, sitting there with his cut off sleeve shirt, or a Brian Propp jersey on, he never missed a game. This team is everything to the big guy.
Mike had eventually won the battle against the terrible disease, he rang the bell, and was ready to move on with life. Until a few months ago, the cancer returned, only now being spotted in his lung. His family and friends stood by him as much as he needed them. Mike has a wonderful wife, with five children to include four daughters and a son. Nina, Alison, Kristin, and Mary. The lonesome son, someone who had always tried to do his best to make him proud, that son being me, Frankie James.
That being said, Dad went through five days of radiation to kill the cancer once again. He is home, cozy and doing the best he can. He talks frequently about the Flyers even in the offseason, questions coming left and right about the team- I can hearing him screaming now “Frankie, what are they gonna now? They gotta get rid of the whole team”. Always jumping the pistol for sure. In closing, my dad has always been a huge support of the team, me, and my writing. He’s here and making the best of every day, and every Flyers season. I couldn’t be more proud of him.
“Birds of a Feather, Flock together” – Mike A Lithgow
For more great Philadelphia Flyers content, visit Flyers Nitty Gritty website.
Photo Credit: Flyers Nitty Gitty