Meet one of Komen Northeast Ohio's most dedicated volunteers.
Michael Lichterman has been a fixture at many Komen events for nearly 20 years. He’s usually easy to point out – he’s the one holding a camera!
Michael began his involvement early on, attending the first two Race for the Cure events in University Circle with his wife, Susan. Michael knew early on that he wanted to become more involved with Komen, his mother was a breast cancer survivor and both he and his wife had careers in the healthcare industry.
In 1994, Michael left his career in healthcare administration and began pursuing one of his many talents, photography. Clifford Norton Studio, a fixture in the Cleveland area since 1906, was purchased by Michael and Susan in 1994. Almost immediately, Michael began to create a name for himself as one of the top portrait photographers in the area.
Then in 1995, Michael was approached by the planning committee for the Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure about taking team portraits at the Race. Michael saw this as an opportunity to give back to the community and graciously agreed to donate his services. Over the years the relationship has continued to grow and Michael continues to take team portraits to this day. In addition to team portraits, he has captured many inspiring moments at the Races over the years. He recalls one experience when the survivor ceremony took place at Cleveland Brown’s stadium. “There was snow and sleet and it was a cold, rather miserable day but the survivor’s were there with smiles on their faces and you could feel the positive energy – it was an inspiring moment!”
Over the years Michael has partnered with Komen in many ways and has even created an event of his own. For the past four years, Michael and his staff have held a survivor party at their studio. Survivors are invited to come and enjoy a night of relaxation, friends and food as well as have their portrait taken! Each year all the portraits are combined into a large banner that is displayed at the Race. This is an event that survivor’s look forward to every year and many use this as an opportunity to see how far they’ve come since their original diagnosis. To Michael, “the banner symbolizes the beauty, strength and determination that each and every survivor has when facing this terrible disease.”