In a heartbreaking turn of events, a Wisconsin teenager’s life was tragically cut short in a sawmill accident, but his selfless act of organ donation has brought a glimmer of hope to his grieving family. Michael “Mikey” Schuls, a vibrant 16-year-old from Florence, lost his life on July 1 after being pinned between machinery at Florence Hardwoods, as reported by WBAY. However, his legacy lives on as his organs, including his liver, have been donated to save the lives of at least seven individuals, including his own mother, Stephanie.

Mikey’s untimely demise occurred when he bravely attempted to unjam a wood-stacking machine. Tragically, the moving conveyor belt beneath him shifted unexpectedly, trapping him within the relentless gears of the machinery. For a grueling 17 minutes, Mikey fought against the unforgiving grip until a co-worker discovered him. Despite being rushed to a children’s hospital in Milwaukee, his injuries proved insurmountable, and he succumbed to “traumatic asphyxiation” two days later, according to Florence County Coroner Jeff Rickaby.

The indescribable pain and sorrow that envelop Mikey’s family are tempered by the knowledge that his heroic act has granted the gift of life to others. Speaking with WBAY, Mikey’s father, Jim, shared the incredible news that Stephanie was a perfect match for her son’s liver, bringing renewed hope to their shattered lives. “Seven or eight other families received life. He delivered the miracle we prayed for for seven other families, including his mother. That’s what’s keeping me going,” Jim expressed with a mixture of grief and gratitude.

Mikey’s kindness, compassion, and athletic prowess touched the hearts of many in his close-knit community. A devoted four-sport athlete at Florence High School, he excelled in football, basketball, baseball, and soccer. He was adored not only by his immediate family but also by his 11 siblings and stepsiblings. Together, they remember Mikey as the “absolute best son, brother, uncle, and friend.” His older brother, Kaden Schuls, has turned to social media to share heartfelt tributes, providing solace and strength during this trying time.

In the face of unspeakable loss, the Schuls family finds comfort in the outpouring of love and support from their small town. Signs bearing Mikey’s favorite saying, “Life is too short — do it anyway,” can be seen throughout Florence, serving as a constant reminder of his zest for life. The profound impact Mikey had on those around him is immeasurable, as demonstrated by the overwhelming community rally behind his family.

As investigations into the tragic accident unfold, Jim, who was present at Florence Hardwoods during the fateful incident, absolves the company of any blame. He emphasizes that none of the employees would have knowingly put their children in harm’s way. Jim’s focus remains on cherishing the cherished memories of his beloved son, describing Mikey as a young man with an untainted heart, someone who “wouldn’t hurt nobody, didn’t do nothing wrong.”

In honor of Mikey’s life, a celebration will be held at the Jacobs-Lundholm Funeral Home in Florence on Saturday morning, where friends and loved ones will come together to remember and pay their respects. Meanwhile, a GoFundMe campaign initiated to support the Schuls family has received an overwhelming response, surpassing its $10,000 goal in a heartwarming display of solidarity and compassion.

Mikey’s story is a testament to the remarkable power of organ donation and the immense capacity for selflessness that resides within the human spirit. While a devastating tragedy claimed his young life, his legacy lives on through the countless lives he has touched and the second chances he has given to others.

As the community mourns the loss of this extraordinary teenager, the lessons of his life and his final act of love will forever remain etched in their hearts, a reminder to seize each precious moment and live life to the fullest. Though Mikey may no longer grace the fields and halls of Florence High School, his spirit will forever soar high, leaving an indelible mark on all those who were fortunate enough to know him.