Tim McGraw’s 2004 song, “Live Like You Were Dying,” reminds us that life is short, and a future is never guaranteed.
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While McGraw didn’t pen the song himself, he no doubt related personally to the lyrics after losing his father to glioblastoma that same year. The song rocketed his career into the stratosphere and became an anthem to anyone effected by terminal illness. Michael Hugo is one person for whom the song has a personal significance.
Michael is a 37-year-old husband and father of two young daughters. Last April, he was diagnosed with stage 4 glioblastoma, which carries a median life expectancy of just 14 months. He’s doing experimental treatments and remains optimistic, but since statistics are not on his side, he is also planning for a future for his family that doesn’t include him.
Like many fathers, Michael always dreamed of being by his daughters’ sides on their wedding days. Knowing now that he likely won’t make it that long, he recorded a heartfelt message in hopes of getting the ear of Tim McGraw himself.
In the video, Michael explains that he has been trying to make things for his daughters to open in the future, after he’s gone. He is making birthday cards and writing them personal messages, and he’s already thinking of making their special days in the future as magical as he can.
“One of my dreams is to be with my little girls for their wedding and be there dancing with them,” he explained in the video. “But statistically, it’s going to be tough. And I’m going to fight hard to get there, but one of my dreams or goals… is to do a duet [of] ‘My Little Girl’ with Tim McGraw and do a little video that we could play during their wedding.”
“So if I’m there, it’d be awesome because it’s a beautiful song,” he continued. “And if I’m not there, then at least I can be part of that wonderful day that I hope happens, hope comes.”
The video went viral, and with everyone tagging McGraw it was just a matter of time before the singer heard Michael’s request. Michael’s wife, Vanessa Hugo, soon got a call from the head of the Tug McGraw Foundation, the charity named for Tim’s late father.
Within a few weeks, Tim flew the entire Hugo family, including Michael’s mom, to the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tennessee, to record the song together!
Vanessa later shared an update with photos of their big day. The singer’s management team had a camera crew there to capture the memories for Michael’s daughters, and they even got him a vocal coach to help him keep up with McGraw’s legendary pipes.
Together, they recorded a duet of “My Little Girl” for Michael’s kids, plus a duet of “I Called Mama” for his mother, Lori.
McGraw later shared snippets of their time together on his social media pages, and it seems the day meant as much to him as it did to Michael and his family.
“Thanx to everyone who shared Mike Hugo’s video on social media and tagged me in the comments,” McGraw wrote as a caption. “So glad we were able to actually get together in person, meet this amazing family, and make it happen! Mike is saving the videos for his daughters’ future weddings… what a special thing to be a part of.”
We’re grateful that Michael’s message made its way to McGraw, and that the country singer took the time to honor his request. Life really is short, and Michael’s story reminds us all how important it is to cherish every moment with the ones we love.
Share this story to send your best wishes to Michael.
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