anne_mikolay_120I considered several topics for my column this week: current events, like the tragic oil spill off the coast of Louisiana, or the Sarah Ferguson “sting,” or subjects closer to home, like the crazy cost of a junior prom, or the NJEA's unfounded criticism of 101.5 radio's Big Joe Henry. But if I am being honest, these are not uppermost in my mind. At the risk of sounding like a star-struck teenager, I can't stop thinking about Celebrity Apprentice, Bret Michaels.

When I first saw rock star Bret Michaels on NBC's Celebrity Apprentice, I knew nothing about him. My son told me he was the front man for the heavy metal group, Poison, as well as the star of VH1's most popular reality show ever, Rock of Love, neither of which meant anything to me. Heavy metal isn't my taste in music, and I am not a VH1 viewer. Therefore, I based my opinion of Bret Michaels solely upon his conduct on Celebrity Apprentice and what I discovered about him via the internet.

It became apparent early on during Celebrity Apprentice that Bret Michaels was a definite contender for the title. I was not at all surprised when his creativity, stamina, humor, and diplomacy landed him a spot (with Holly Robinson Pete) in the final board room. Like many fans, however, I was surprised – and elated - to see him on Sunday's finale program.

As  you may know, Bret Michaels recently suffered a life threatening brain hemorrhage and miraculously survived, yet suffered a minor stroke only days before the Celebrity Apprentice finale. In an appearance on Oprah last week, Michaels reported that he was on the mend, but did not have full use of his legs just yet. Despite doctors' warnings, Bret Michaels was present at the final Celebrity Apprentice telecast. When the board room doors opened, and Michaels shuffled in, my heart went out to him. His appearance, his demeanor, and his self-deprecating humor during the show were characteristically charming, but it is the man's dignity, grace under fire, and fighting spirit that have made me a forever fan.

Bret Michaels will never read this. Likewise, he'll never know how very many people are pulling for him, and praying for his complete recovery. He will never know how inspiring is his dedication to others, including his family (especially his daughter recently diagnosed with onset diabetes). He will never know the admirable example he sets as a successful celebrity who, like many “regular” people, has recovered from accidents, and faces daily health struggles (Michaels has been a diabetic since age six). And now, with his most recent health challenge, Bret Michaels unknowingly emerges a symbol of the very best in humanity. When I saw him slowly walk into the board room during the Celebrity Apprentice show, I was humbled. We can all learn a lesson from Bret Michaels, who reminds us  of life's frailties, of the power of the human spirit, and the importance of love above all else.

Bret Michaels is an amazing, inspiring individual. My family and I wish him quick healing, and a life filled with joy, health, and colorful bandannas.