Mike Walsh holds up his ring finger where he used to wear his gold wedding ring. (ALAN WARD/DAILY PRESS & ARGUS)
HOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Livingston Daily) -- Mike Walsh said the man who found his ring outside Costco returned it this morning.
"We all cried," he said. "He was a cancer survivor himself."
HOWELL TOWNSHIP, Mich. (Livingston Daily) -- Mike Walsh is dying, and the one item he'd like to leave his widow is his wedding ring, which slipped off his finger after a recent chemotherapy session.
The 57-year-old Howell Township man hopes that offering a $1,000 reward for the return of his gold coin ring featuring a running gazelle - which he lost Oct. 7 while at the Costco store at 6700 Whitmore Lake Road in Green Oak Township - will provide incentive for its finder to return it.
He doesn't know if it slipped off his finger while he was inside the store or in the parking lot.
"I'm going to die from pancreatic cancer," Mike said matter-of-factly as tears flowed. "I will die. I have, maybe, that ring to leave my wife. That's why it's important. Its earthly value isn't important."
He met his wife, Cheryl Walsh, who is a Stockbridge teacher, in January 1978 during a snowstorm.
Mike was working for Ford Motor Co. in Wixom, and after a two-night shutdown due to the snowstorm, which also led to a freeway closure, he decided to get out of the house by visiting a buddy's nightclub one Friday night. There, he came across a car stuck in the snow; inside were two couples on a double date.
Mike and friends were able to move the car closer to the nightclub while the two couples went inside to wait.
"She was on a date with someone else," Mike said. "I had to meet her. I kept asking her to dance. About the fourth time, they were getting ready to leave and she gave me her phone number. We've been together ever since."
Mike and Cheryl married on March 29, 1980, but they never really liked his original wedding ring. Near their one-year anniversary, Mike said they found the gold coin ring, which was perfect, and she bought it for him to replace the original band.
The couple have experienced good and bad times throughout their union, and in January 2012 their relationship was tested when Mike was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. He said he was shocked because there is no family history of cancer.
"You say 'No!' over and over again," he said. "It can't be real. It can't be right, and it is. You just realize ... you have to ask God to walk the walk with you, and that's the only way you can do this."
Mike said his initial prognosis was that he'd live only three months to six months.
He wanted to defy the odds. He has gone through three rounds of chemotherapy and one round of radiation, which burned a 2-inch ulcer on his pancreas and left him hospitalized for days.
Mike said he has tried every medication he could, including experimental drugs, in an effort to stop the inevitable.
"There's nothing left on the shelf," he said. "I've tried it all. Nothing is going to make me live longer or breathe healthier.
"I'm going to leave her, and I'd like her to have my wedding ring," Mike added. "I wore it every day. I wore it through the hard times. I wore it through the good times. I wore it through the broke times."
Anyone who found or knows the whereabouts of his ring is asked to call Mike at 517-548-7415.