Spend an hour with Mike Farwell, and you come to learn there are many sides to the man.
There’s the morning show host who can’t resist a joke at his own expense. As Farwell tells it, radio is the only thing he ever wanted to do with his life.
“I got into radio for one reason, and one reason only, and that’s because I loved the medium — I was fascinated by it,” he says. “I never had any illusions about anybody knowing my name. I never had any illusions about people even listening to what I do; I just wanted to get a job at a radio station.”
There’s the Kitchener Rangers broadcaster who grew up listening to, and then working with, Don Cameron — an experience he still describes as a dream.
“[He] was the soundtrack to my hockey youth,” says Farwell.
There’s the community servant, always eager to emcee an event. And there’s the brother who lost two sisters to cystic fibrosis — and still thinks of them over twenty years later. Each May, Farwell devotes himself to raising funds for Cystic Fibrosis Canada — offering his services through his #Farwell4Hire campaign. Last year, he raised over $40,000 for the cause.
“[My sisters] got robbed of the last twenty years that I’ve had to try to do something,” says Farwell. “So that’s why I do it.”
“My older sister [was] 24 years old,” he says. “Nine months later, losing my little sister at the age of 18 was excruciating. So I kind of went into a hole for awhile.”
Two quotes pulled Farwell out of his funk and drove him to using his platform as a radio personality to make a difference.
“[Former radio personality Neil Aitchison] brought out a quote: ‘Community service is the rent we pay for the space we occupy.’ And I’ve never forgotten that,” he says.
The other one, says Farwell, came from a book written by baseball great Roberto Clemente:
“[He said,] ‘A person who has the ability to help others and fails to do so has wasted his life.’ […] I honestly started thinking: what could I possibly do to help other people?”
“I am so grateful to this community,” says Farwell. “It’s taken care of me all my life, and I can’t help but want to give back to it.”
I spoke with @farwell_WR about radio, community service, and his sisters' battle with cystic fibrosis: https://t.co/Y9nZccVkkW #Farwell4Hire pic.twitter.com/eJOtqwMn6u
— Martin Bauman (@martin_bauman) May 4, 2017