Eagle Feathers and Angel Wings: Micah’s Story

The Chase family, Shelley and Del and sons, Micah and Nick, lived in the home they had built in the foothills of Central California amidst manzanita, cedars and pine. Happy and healthy, the family worked, romped and played in their hilltop paradise where homegrown food and family rituals were the norm.

All of that changed in the summer of 1991 when twelve-year-old Micah was diagnosed with acute myelocytic leukemia. What followed was a nightmarish battle waged not only in Micah’s young body but also on fronts unimaginable and unconscionable.

Narrated by his mother, Eagle Feathers and Angel Wings chronicles Micah’s courage and the demolition of foundations her family believed were enduring: home, integrity, and the fulfillment of obligations. Muniz reveals the vivid truth about the essential rights of the catastrophically ill, struggles with health care coverage and medical care.

This inspiring remembrance is the documentation of a family’s love, their efforts to find answers for Micah, and a resolution to his pain even after his death. Eagle Feathers and Angel Wings is much more than a story of loss. It is a story about living.


As an avid reader, I have identified specific subjects that I do not like to read. Children who are suffering is one of those categories. Because of this, I truly have no idea why I opened Eagle Feathers and Angel Wings: Micah’s Story, but once I did, I could not put it down. Muniz writes in a clear, no frills manner, drawing the reader into her family’s daily lives as they are transformed from a happy, carefree existence to one that can only be described as hell. She does not ask for your sympathy; she simply wants to describe their journey and warn you of the dangers along the way.
You’ll cry, but more than that, you’ll be angry at a system that manipulates its members for their own benefit. Muniz presents an eye-opening exposé of our health care system as well as a loving tribute to her beautiful boy, Micah, and all the loved ones he left behind.


Shelley Muniz wrote this beautiful narrative as a tribute to her late son, Micah, who died of childhood leukemia. It was so engrossing that I couldn’t wait to read the next page. The story details their family’s experience with his illness and the courage Micah showed in undergoing years of painful and extensive treatments. Muniz writes from the deep wellspring of emotion that only a parent who has lost a child can feel, and she shows how a family member’s illness can have devastating consequences for the rest of the family. What makes the story even more heart-wrenching is the parallel account of the family’s inhumane treatment by their health insurance provider, and that company’s denial of a potentially lifesaving treatment for Micah. Muniz’s moral and legal battle with them serves as a cautionary tale for the rest of us. “Micah’s Story” will move you. You will weep, you will rage, you will laugh, and you will never forget Muniz’s determination and bravery in telling us about her son’s harrowing experience. My hope is that this book will be made into a film version so that it will reach a wider audience.

-Joan Canty

Eagle Feathers and Angel Wings: Micah’s Story is timeless and well told. Countless people continue to suffer the same situation as his, enduring the additional stress of unpaid medical bills as they face illness, hospitalization, separation, fear of the unknown. Insurance company denial and up-front payment requirements by hospitals and care facilities occur on a daily basis. As citizens we read about these injustices in our newspapers; as physicians we experience them firsthand. Children suffer, parents agonize, yet the issues of a broken health care system remain unresolved.

-Dr. Barbara Beach M.D. Pediatric Oncologist, Oakland Children’s Hospital and Co-founder and Medical Director of the George Mark Children’s House