My Spiritual Victory Over Crohn's Disease
One man's inspirational book about his battle with Crohn's
disease and depression.
By: Mike Florak
Former Head Baseball Coach
Waynesburg University and Youngstown State University
Mike Florak Receives the Great Comebacks Award
Mike Florak has been named the Central Region receipient of the Great Comebacks Award. The award is sponsored by the Crohns and Colitis Foundation of America and ConvaTec.
Mike was presented with the award on Monday, November 5, 2007 at 6pm at the Renaissance Hotel in Cleveland, Ohio. The award is given annually to a person who has overcome the difficulties of living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis), colorectal cancer and/or and ostomy whose story can encourage others.
Past winners and Great Comebacks Board Members include former NFL player Rolf Benirschke, former professional golfer Al Geiberger, actress Mary Ann Mobley, and former White House Aide Tony Snow. Mike and the three other regional award winners will be in Washington, D.C. for the announcement of the National Great Comebacks award winner.
For more information on the Great Comebacks Award, please visit www.greatcomebacks.com
|The Mike Florak Book Fund was
created by a group of Mike's friends to assist
Mike in his effort to share his message and
inspiration to others. Donations that are raised
through this fund are used to help distribute
Healthier Than Normal
to health care professionals, schools, faith-based
organizations and other venues to be an example
for others faced with difficult challenges.
For additional information, or to make a contribution,
The Mike Florak Book Fund
139 Brady Circle West
Steubenville, Oh 43952
or call: 1-888-435-6125
Eight surgeries. Four blood transfusions. Terrible bouts
with depression. Eight flare-ups in eight years of what
doctors called one of the worst cases of Crohn’s disease
they had ever seen. It doesn’t sound like the resume
of a championship-winning college baseball coach. Unless
it is the resume of Mike Florak.
Healthier Than Normal is Florak’s graphic,
inspirational autobiography which tells the story of how
he overcame the aforementioned suffering to become one
of only 290 NCAA Division I baseball coaches in the entire
“Fall seven times, rise eight.”
- Asian Proverb
time his Crohn’s disease flared up, Florak fought
back harder. During four of the flare ups, he lost 40
pounds and gained it all back. In the other four flare
ups, he lost 60 pounds and gained it all back. In Healthier
Than Normal, the author writes about how medication,
diet, exercise, meditation, and determination helped build
him back up each time he was knocked down.
Despite the grit he displayed each time adversity arrived
at his door, Florak feared what life would be like if he
were forced to have his entire large intestine surgically
removed. When the disease eventually raged out of control,
his worst fears were realized. The surgery he thought would
end his life actually gave it back to him. He wrote the
book because he knows that as the head baseball coach at
Youngstown State University, he has a platform to be a model
for others who need inspiration to overcome sadness and
Click here to view Article
in USA Today about Mike Florak's book
Youngstown State head baseball coach and communications
professor talks about his fight with Crohn's Disease and
how he overcame it to become what he is today.
“Healthier Than Normal” is the classic story
of a remarkable hero who recovers from a devastating battle
with Crohn’s disease and depression. Mike is an example
to us all of the human spirit shining through near impossible
- Ron Titlebaum, President, United Ostomy Association
In the midst all of the struggles he went through, Florak’s
faith was strongly tested. He writes openly about how
he prayed to get better to be able to avoid “the
surgery.” Even though surgery eventually became
his only option, the whole ordeal strengthened his faith
in God. During his inspirational speeches, Mike is proud
to talk about how his suffering has made him a better
person and has given him confidence he otherwise would
not have known.
“We glory in tribulation, knowing that
tribulation produces perseverance, and perseverance, character,
and character, hope.”
- Romans 5:3-4
knew deep inside, even during his darkest, most depressed
times, that something good would come from his suffering.
He gained confidence that with God’s help, he could
hurdle any obstacle placed before him. In just two short
years after his final surgery, his team at Waynesburg
College had the highest team batting average of any college
team in the country, and then became the Presidents’
Athletic Conference champions. Mike was named conference
coach of the year, and shortly after, became one of the
country’s youngest Division I head coaches at the
age of 31 when he was hired at Youngstown State in the
fall of 1998.
Success did not come as quickly at Youngstown State.
The first five years were a struggle. Finally, in 2004,
Florak believed the team could compete for the league
championship. But the team lost many close games early
in the season, and limped to a last-place finish during
the Horizon League’s regular season. Because of
his faith and knowing that he had climbed higher mountains
before, the coach knew better than to let his team give
up. They pulled themselves together and rallied for a
stunning championship run, winning the league tournament
and making the first-ever NCAA tournament appearance in
the school’s 50-year history.
“Mike Florak faced adversity with courage
and a plan. God was, and is, at the center of Mike’s
plan, and that truly is the reason for his good fortune.
A courageous man, a caring teacher of young people, and
a friend to many, Healthier Than Normal will impact all
who read it.”
- Jim Tressel, Head Football Coach, The Ohio State University
Despite the fact that Crohn’s disease and ulcerative
colitis are not often talked about, there are WELL OVER
ONE MILLION people in the United States alone who suffer
from these two diseases. In Healthier Than Normal, the
author writes in detail about the drastic symptoms and
the suffering he endured. Florak also unashamedly writes
about how deep and desperately he endured bouts with depression.
The author knows that others will benefit from reading
“Healthier Than Normal is the inspirational
and brutally honest real-life story of how one man has
overcome the physical and mental struggles of a disease
that no one wants to talk about. It is a ‘must read’
if you or anyone in your circle of family or friends has
had the misfortune of dealing with Crohn’s disease
-Mark Bercik, President, America Sports Publishing