In Loving Memory of
Michael Thomas Strenko
June 14, 1981 - May 15, 2003

The Life of Michael Thomas Strenko

Michael was born in Somerset Medical Center, Somerville, NJ June 14th, 1981 to the proud parents of Mary and Tom. He joined his older sister Melissa when he was brought home from the hospital.


When it rains it pours and opens doors
that flood the floors we thought would always
keep us safe and dry
And in the midst of sailing ships
we sink our lips into the ones we love
That have to say goodbye

And as I float along this ocean
I can feel you like a notion that won’t seem to let me go

Cause when I look to the sky
something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything alright
And when I feel like I’m lost
something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here

And every word I didn’t say
that caught up in some busy day
And every dance on the kitchen floor
we didn’t have before
And every sunset that we’ll miss
I’ll wrap them all up in a kiss
And pick you up in all of this when I sail away

And while I float upon this ocean
I can feel you like a notion that I hope will never leave

Cause when I look to the sky
something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything alright
And when I feel like I’m lost
something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way

Whether I am up or down or in or out
or just plain overhead
Instead it just feels like it is impossible to fly
But with you I can spread my wings
to see me over everything
that life may send me when I am hoping it won’t pass me by

And when I feel like there is no one
that will ever know me
there you are to show me

When I look to the sky
something tells me you’re here with me
And you make everything alright
And when I feel like I’m lost
something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here

When I look to the sky
something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here
And when I feel like I’m lost
something tells me you’re here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here

Michael has been a life-long resident of Manville, New Jersey. He graduated from Manville High School in 1999 where he was a dedicated athlete; four-year letterman in varsity track and field; excelled in varsity soccer, in which he accumulated a varsity letter three years in a row, and was involved in freshman football and junior varsity basketball.

Michael enjoyed participating in extracurricular activities such as the Future Business Leaders of America, Student Council and Key Club. He completed some course work in the field of computer science at Seton Hall University, where he was a fraternity brother of the Sigma Phi Epsilon chapter. He also took some classes in Raritan Valley Community College. He was employed by Fisher Scientific.

Michael was a type of person who did “laugh-out-loud” comedic impressions and had extraordinary ability to bring a smile to the faces of everyone he encountered. He also enjoyed children and he was good with them. His future plans included children. He was in a five-year relationship with the love of his life Danielle. He did some research of diamonds and was trying to come up with a plan to save enough money that he could buy an engagement ring. He loved his Lobster and hoped one day they would marry. They both enjoyed watching “Friends” episodes together on Thursday nights and listening to music especially R&B and Rap.

Michael was diagnosed with a blood disorder called Autoimmune Hemolytic Anemia in the summer of July 6th 2001 when the family physician did some blood work and sent him to a blood specialist that handles blood disorders. He was in remission after several weeks on steroids and was fine up to May 8th 2003. Out from no where, the blood disorder came back, but this time in a fury. Michael went to work and past out on the sidewalk. He was rushed to Somerset Medical Center where his family and his Lobster was with him around the clock except when the nurses told us to leave Michael’s hospital room while cleaning him up. The spleen operation was a success and he was recovering. His vitals were excellent the last day of his life. Wednesday was the best day ever up to 7:00 PM; then everything changed.

In Loving Memory of
Michael Thomas Strenko
1st Anniversary 6/14/1981 - 5/15/2003

Remembering …
You had a smile that lit up the room.
You could charm yourself through anything.
Your humor and comedic impressions brought laughter to so many.
Younger days and old treasured memories when life was so pure
and simple made every day seem like a whole new world.
You were always on the go either chasing a soccer ball
or running track and gave it your all.
You enjoyed watching Monday Night Raw, Yankees games,
and you were a big fan of Friends.
Your dance moves were the life of any party,
leading the congo line.
In your down time, you enjoyed playing video games
and conquered all of them.
You were always up for a roller coaster ride and rollerblading.
Music was a big part of your life,
whether you were “DJ Strenko” mixing up the latest beats
or dancing to “Hands Up” on your hockey skates
at the Bridgewater Sports Arena.
You enjoyed being a part of the brotherhood of Sigma Phi Epsilon.
You were sensitive to people needs, understanding and forgiving.
You were caring and thoughtful, always remembering special occasions,
and always lent a helping hand to your family and friends.
You loved your lobster.
Our hearts are so heavy for every second that passes
and we carry such deep emptiness within us
since you have left our world to be with God in heaven.
We miss your hugs.
But we do find some comfort knowing
that your spirit is with us
and that someday we will meet again…
You have left behind so much joy of the way you lived your life.
We love you and are proud to have a son and a brother like you.
We will always keep you in our hearts.
We will keep your memory alive
and will treasure all the memories we made with you.
You are so missed!
Love, Mom and Dad
and your loving sister Melissa
Family, Friends,
and lastly, the love of your life Danielle
‘Be sure to watch over your little “Buddy”

Thank you to Tina's Mom for sending such a beautiful gift for Michael's day!
She also made Michael's picture framed with the doves at the top of this page.

These thress special gifts for Angel Michael are from my friend Marie.
You can visit her website for her son Rob here ~ Rob Northrop's Site.

This is a gift to Michael from my dear friend Ann.

In Loving Memory of Michael Thomas Strenko
June 14, 1981 - May 15, 2003
7th Heaven Anniversary

With tearful eyes we watched you
and saw you fade away.
Although we loved you deeply
we could not make you stay.
Our love for you
will forever transcend throughout time.
"You are so missed"
Love, Mom & Dad and Melissa
Family and Friends
"Wish You Were Here"

I know you're out there somewhere
Somewhere, somewhere
I know you're out there somewhere
Somewhere you can hear my voice
I know I'll find you somehow
Somehow, somehow
I know I'll find you somehow
And somehow I'll return again to you!
~ Moody Blues ~

Your spirit lives on.

You are so missed!
Love, Mom & Dad and Melissa

Michael's friends actually purchased a star with his name on it for us.
We cannot thank them enough!

Please visit this very special page, Michael Strenko, Our Precious Child

Michael Thomas Strenko was murdered by serial killer nurse Charles Cullen by lethal injection at Somerset Medical Center, Somerville, NJ on May 15, 2003. Charles Cullen's sentencing was on March 2, 2006,
where he did not look at the victim's families while they spoke, but kept his head down and his eyes shut.

It is important to attach this link to the website
Click here: Autoimmunity AARDA American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association.

The American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, Inc. is a 501(c)(3) tax exempt non-profit charitable organization. Administrative expenses are less than 10% of all contributions. Most corporate companies will match dollar for dollar to contribute to this organization. Our hope is whoever reads about Michael's disorder can have an opportunity to contribute toward Autoimmune Diseases in his memory. National Autoimmune disease research and education are not as funded as others. It is in great need of donations to help this rare blood disorder and many other autoimmune diseases. There are so many autoimmune diseases out there that most people aren't even aware of, like Michael's. Since I can no longer buy my son a present, I donate towards this organization in his memory.

Please write to lawmakers to revise a bill or adopt a bill to require all states to require better background checks be given not only with new hires, but individuals already hired, stricter security measures, and NO TOLERANCE for any mistakes. We want all states adopt a law to report ANY disciplinary actions to the state and that hospitals and health care centers MUST obtain that report before hiring someone. We are asking for your support to write to or send e-mail to your senator or congressman, or any of your local county, state, or federal representatives to demand for stricter laws so that what happened to our son Michael does not continue to happen to other innocent patients in these health care facilities. We thank you so much for doing this.

From emotional pain to nursing others

Valerie Esock and Michael Strenko were childhood playmates. They remained close throughout high school, but went their separate ways after graduation - he to Seton Hall and she to the University of Delaware. Esock had nearly completed a degree in nursing
when she learned Strenko had been killed by a nurse.

On May 15, 2003, recovering from an operation to remove his spleen, Strenko was murdered by "killer nurse" Charles Cullen.

Esock was devastated. "He was 21 years old," she said. Combined with the stress of University of Delaware's rigorous nursing program, the emotional shock was too much. "I couldn't finish school."

She left the program and instead pursued a B.A. in health sciences, graduating in 2004.

But Esock still wanted to be a nurse. Strenko's murder, she said, "started a fire in me." She wanted to show people that there
were still good nurses out there. So in 2005 she enrolled in the RVCC nursing program.

But RVCC accepted none of her earlier nursing credits. "I got so far," she said, "and I had to start all over again." Thinking of Strenko
kept her going: "I keep his picture in my binder," said Esock, "That gives me the strength to get through."

Now she is graduating as a registered nurse but it's not the end of her journey.

"I definitely want to go further," she said. "Eventually, I do want to get my MSN (Masters of Science in Nursing)."

And she hopes to write a book in Strenko's memory.

Friends since preschool: Michael Strenko, age 13, and Valerie Esock, age 12.
Photo courtesy of Valerie Esock.

Well Mike, I finally did it. I graduated nursing school yesterday and will officially be an RN when I pass my board exam. It was you who guided me through this, as I set out to prove that I can be a nurse of compassion, humility, and integrity. I had days that were long and many stressful, tear-filled nights from all of the stress at school. It was during these times that I looked at your picture, the one that I kept in my school binder. You gave me the motivation to get through it, and I finally did. I will seek to be the best nurse that I can possibly be in your memory. I hope to have the power one day to write a book or develop a scholarship in your name, because you deserve it. I miss you
with all of my heart; you were a friend that was one of a kind. I have yet to meet someone with the same bright light as you, and I know
I never will. Every day when I get up for work to improve people's lives I will do it because of you. I know you are watching over me,
your beautiful family, and your friends. Until we meet again, all of my love, Val.
Posted Thursday, May 17th 2007 - 12:38:19 PM

On Saturday, September 8th, 2007, Valerie passed The National Council Licensure Examination.

Valerie words: "I am now a RN and can be in a position to bring awareness to the tragedy that affected Mike, and so many other people.
I want to do good with this license and I want to make Mike proud, he is my ultimate motivation for doing this and I miss him painfully
every, single day of my life.

28th heaven birthday...Michael, we miss you so...Love, Mom & Dad and Melissa

A friend can hear a tear drop.

Please visit Maria's Tribute to Christopher
Angel Christopher
Two Very Special Angels

Sharing...we will be on our cruise on his birthday 14th - flag day.
We will be doing something special on that day at sea.

These are two beautiful and loving gifts for Angel Michael from my dear friend, Carol, mom to Angel Michael.

With love from Ann, Laura's mom.

"I would like to present you with my Heaven's Gate Award,
because Michael passed so very unexpectedly and with no warning
to his mom, his dad and his family.
I am so very sure that Jesus was waiting at the Gate of Heaven for Him.
May God's Justice Be Served and may you all have His comfort
in your time of terrible suffering."

In Loving Memory of Michael

A Very Special Angel
You Will Always Be Remembered

Gone Too Soon From This Earth
Before You're Time To Go
For Reasons That We Cannot Know
Your Spirit Lives on Somewhere Beyond Our Eye
One of the Brightest Stars in the Sky
With Love and Remembrance Dear Michael
Ann, Laurasmom


To Mary and ANGEL Michael

Your Birthday is again here
What am I suppose to do
When I don't feel you near

I am with you Mom always
In everything you say and do
Though you can't see or hear me
So please for me, don't be blue

Every ANGEL has a window
It is a star, one is mine
That day when GOD calls you
You will have one, in time

Until then Mom, every day
Open your heart and look up
I watch over you always
And I protect you too

Written By Sue-Anne Aguilera~~~Lee'sMom

'Keep Those Goals Coming Angel Michael'

In Loving Memory of Lee Henry Aguilera

Just wanted to send you a little gift for Michael's Heaven date. My thoughts and prayers are with you on this most difficult day.
I'll have a candle lit in his memory tomorrow morning. Take care, my friend, and know that you're not alone.
With my Love and Prayers,
Lynn, Mom to Ken

I've been thinking of you this week, my friend. I know these dates are so close and that's really difficult. I lit a candle on Thursday morning for your beloved Michael's Birthday. I hope you can remember all the precious Birthdays you spent with him,
and they give you some comfort. I'm here if you should need me. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.
With my Love,
Lynn, Mom to Our Angel Ken

This webpage is created
In Loving Memory of Michael Thomas Strenko
on August 9, 2004
Last updated: May 28, 2015
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