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Storyteller at Heart

Tomas & Michelle

Michelle Mathai was born in New York City and raised in New England, attending Colby College in Maine for undergraduate work. Upon earning an MBA from THUNDERBIRD, Michelle joined the U.S. Department of State as a Foreign Service Officer, serving at diplomatic posts in Auckland, New Zealand, Washington, D.C., and Berlin, Germany. During her first tour, she was the sole survivor of a car accident in which both her parents, immigrants from Kerala, India, perished. The tragedy left her caregiver to her brother as he suffered from brain cancer. She eventually left her career in public service to slow down and support Tomas in his final years, nursing him at her home in the Napa Valley until his final breaths.


As the last one standing, Michelle was so inspired by Tomas' courageous 20-year battle with cancer and all the lessons learned during hospice that she created her podcast Written on Water, wrote her memoir, and ran the NYC marathon in 2019 and 2021, raising money for brain cancer research.

Michelle still lives in the beautiful Napa Valley managing a bustling wine + food estate to fuel her writing and running habits. She currently volunteers with the UCSF Peer-to-Peer Caregiver Program to share her experiences and provide support to current brain tumor patients and their families. She continues to fundraise to kick cancer's ass in her running of the 2024 BMW Berlin Marathon. Donate today! 

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