The Michaeyla Nadeau Memorial Fund at Award USA

Established in 2020, the fund honors the life of Michaeyla Nadeau, an adventurous and courageous teen that inspired everyone around her with her strength, ambition, sense of purpose, positivity, and perseverance. The purpose of the fund is to increase access to the Award by providing financial assistance to young people in need, so they can pursue their adventures, create their own meaningful journeys, and find their purpose, passion, and place in this world as Michaeyla did. She exemplified the spirit of the Award by her passion for adventure, her ambition to take on new challenges, her ability to overcome obstacles, and her generous service to others.

Michaeyla was first diagnosed with osteosarcoma in 2014. Despite multiple rounds of chemotherapy, numerous surgeries, extended hospital stays, and leg amputation in 2018, she faced her challenges with determination, grace, and a maturity that was wise beyond her years. Her battle with cancer and physical condition didn’t stop her love for adventure or the ability to pursue her goal of climbing mountains. Mount Trashmore, in Virginia Beach was her favorite place. Her climbs up Mount Trashmore represented her cancer journey and ever upwards battle of overcoming any obstacle put in her way with confidence and resilience. She was all about exploring and traveled to many new places. Michaeyla was a National Honor Student and her longterm ambition was to study engineering at MIT. So, she entered a writing contest and won a trip to the MIT campus and met the president. She also was able run Amazon for a day in Reading, Massachusetts and made a lime green robot. They were so impressed with Michaeyla that they have a walkway named after her called “Inspiration Point” and offered her an internship after she graduates.

Michaeyla had a generous heart, taking time to educate and inspire others dealing with adversity. She was active in many Crush Cancer campaigns to support cancer research. She was a Daily Points of Light Award honoree for her work as a patient advocate for children with cancer and other illness. She was a charter member of the Children’s Hospital of the King’s Daughters and was a member of the Patient/Family Advocacy Council in Norfolk Virginia. Michaeyla wrote and sang a song called Stronger to give other kids hope when facing cancer. Kids throughout North America have heard her empowering song of encouragement, hope, and strength.

Michaeyla was working on her Bronze Award before her passing in January 2020. She leaves behind a powerful legacy of courage, strength, perseverance, and resilience. She was a positive influence wherever she went and was an extraordinary inspiration to so many people. We are so honored to have Michaeyla as part of The Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award USA Family. Her adventurous spirit continues on.


“Life is not going to wait around on you, and you shouldn’t wait around for it.”

“I just count my blessings and remember what I’m thankful for.”

“You just gotta keep fighting and really stay strong because that’s what I do in my battle every day.”

“There’s always something more you can give. I know I’m helping someone else.”

“When life gets a little harder, you have to pick yourself back up and be a little bit stronger.”

“I like adventures and doing things that I think I can’t do – pushing myself and challenging myself.”

“When I get to go on adventures and get to challenge myself and do fun things, I feel like I accomplished something that I set my mind to.”


To find out more about Michaeyla and her incredible legacy and life lessons, check out these stories:

Stronger Now Video

Michaeyla’s Message Video

‘Really stay strong’: 15-year-old who lost battle with bone cancer Tuesday leaves behind message of perseverance

Crush Cancer 2019: 14-year-old who lost leg to cancer symbolically climbs Virginia Beach’s Mount Trashmore

12-Year-Old cancer patient speaks up for hospitalized kids as a patient advocate

Children diagnosed with cancer get to ride in style to the Texas State Capitol

Children’s museum provides Hampton Roads with a White Christmas

Sunshine Kids Mardi Gras ball gives children with cancer a reason to smile

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