Looking back, Michael Yewdell wishes he had his priorities in order. “Before 2017, I was prioritizing building my first business and making as much money as possible,” he admits. “I would say with hindsight that I should have focused more on building relationships and missed out on a lot of life opportunities. That all changed post battle!” This battle started innocuously enough before he realized it was something much bigger. “I woke up one morning with a harmless cough and since all I cared about was building my business, I just assumed it would go away. After a month, it was still there and after 2 months, it was getting so bad that I couldn’t finish sentences without coughing. I finally went to get an X-Ray where they found over a liter of fluid in my lungs, but that wasn’t all they found. The doctors informed me that I had a tumor the size of a grapefruit sitting on my lungs, a tennis ball-sized tumor in my shoulder, and cancer forming around my esophagus that would have eventually closed it.” The shocking discovery initially shattered his reality as he struggled to cope with what his future might look like. “I knew something was wrong based on how long everything was taking. I just did not know how bad it was. Hearing ‘you have cancer’ is never easy, but I had my family there. This was actually the hardest part. I got the ‘gun’ pointed at me with this diagnosis, but seeing all their faces was harder to process than the fight ahead. I ended up leaving the hospital and seeing a movie 2 hours later. At some random point in the movie, it hit me so hard that I just broke down crying. The craziest part is now I consider that day as the ‘luckiest day of my life’ after all cancer has given me.”
Michael was cautiously optimistic with his first treatment approach. “I was diagnosed with Stage-2 Hodgkin’s lymphoma, which in the cancer world is a very treatable disease. I started on the chemo cocktail A-B-V-D which gives a 93% chance of curing your cancer after just 6 months. With that information, I decided to keep my fight to just my close friends, business partners, and family. I was able to go work out 4 days a week and go to work most days. The treatment was every 14 days so I would have one super low (no energy) day and one recovery day. That means I made the most out of my 12 good days between each treatment. I ended up failing that treatment after 6 months due to my body not being responsive.” It was time for a more nuanced approach. “I went from Mount Sinai (which does not specialize in oncology) to a cancer-specific hospital in Memorial Sloan Kettering (MSK). They were the only hospital that I spoke to that looked at my case from a unique perspective. They believed that my cancer was coming just from one lymph node and if they radiated that area, it can help start the process of curing me. Following the radiation, I was given the B.E.A.M. treatment plus a stem-cell transplant which went on to save my life.”
His illness propelled him to launch a company inspired by this treatment, synonymously called BEAM. “Before getting sick, I was already in the process of building a brand, I just had no idea which products I was going to make. I had the mission to right wrongs in our industry, but I had no plans of using my story to leverage our platform for everlasting positive impact. When I got sick, my doctors told me to strengthen my immune system and make sure I stayed fed even if I did not feel well. This is when I began drinking greens for immunity and protein for staying full. The market offered the worst-tasting products, so I vowed to fix that once I got healthy.” Thus, BEAM products are crafted with deliciousness second only to their health benefits. “BEAM offers a variety of insanely high-quality products that offer tremendous health benefits. Our super greens formula offers over 20 servings of fruits and veggies in every scoop, our vegan protein offers the best forms of plant-based protein on the market, and now our gut health is healing poor gut health. With each product we make, we have the customer in mind. One, we are the customer, and two, we have tons of data from our other company that allows us to offer the optimal experience.”
BEAM values welcoming all customers with open arms. “We like to promote health and wellness in a unique way that makes everyone feel welcome. We do not judge. We do not intimidate. We offer positivity. We want a safe place for anyone and everyone to join us on their fitness journey. We want to help benefit lives while making a positive difference in this world.” Michael has lofty goals for the budding company. “We already have an incredible community and we are just 2 years old. I envision our community growing each and every year to help benefit so many lives! With each milestone we hit, we are improving or amplifying our impact as well.” That impact will keep reverberating through countless stories.
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Michael Yewdell Creates a BEAM of Light in the Health Industry Following Cancer Fight. Photo Credit: Daniel Lee.