Every individual or family deals with loss differently. A few months ago, The Max Cure Foundation received a message on Facebook from a Mother asking if we could bring Dunk Your Kicks to the San Luis Obispo Marathon in April. We were thrilled to receive such an invitation and inspired by this woman’s efforts to make a difference in the fight against pediatric cancer. Little did we know at the time, this Mother lost her 8 year-old son, Sam, to cancer on October 20, 2013.
Sam was diagnosed with brain cancer in September, 2012, 13 months prior to his passing. Sam’s life before then was normal and happy, until almost overnight Sam started feeling funny, falling down, and having seizures. Sam’s parents got him the medical attention he needed right away and the roller coaster started from that moment. The family was told through chemotherapy and radiation treatments developed for adults, he may be able to survive.
From September to April Sam continued these treatments, and then in May of 2013, Sam’s family was told that “radiation and chemotherapy were no longer an option because the tumors were too massive and were located in the portion of the brain which would result in too much collateral damage. There were no clinical trials open for this particular type of tumor.” Again, their worst fears were realized, they are told to prepare for the loss of their son. How many times do parents need to hear there is nothing that can be done for their child before funding for research for pediatric cancer drugs is substantially increased?
Sam’s Mom writes a blog entitled “Enough For Now” as part of her healing and coping methods. She shares Sam’s story from beginning to end, but in one particular post, she wrote something that moved us. “Perhaps the treatments he received in the first 7 months did some good. Maybe the thing was at least slowed down. Sam’s quality of life was excellent up until late May. We felt pretty normal most of the time. I had moments of doubt and fear, but I had hope too. I constantly replayed the words of the nurse practitioner on Sam’s team: in the 20 years she worked in the brain tumor program they only lost 2 kids to tumor growth. It’ll be 3 now.”
Although Sam lost his battle, his family has refused to stop fighting the war. From pancake breakfasts to Lemonade and Love, Sam’s family and friends have done what they can to raise money for research so that one day we can find a cure, and no more “Sams” of the world will be lost. This time they are bringing The Max Cure Foundation’s Dunk Your Kicks campaign to California in a big way.
Max Cure Foundation collects used sneakers, and with the help of an international recycler, the sneakers are then sold as affordable footwear in developing nations. A portion of the monies raised from the sale of these sneakers will go to the Max Cure Fund which underwrites a laboratory at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center which treats children and young adults who have not responded to standard cancer treatments. The results to date have been extraordinary. We hope to one day fund the research that provides a cure.
So clean out your closets California and Dunk Your Kicks at the San Luis Obispo Marathon on April 25th through the 27th! Take a stand against pediatric cancer, one “Dunk” at a time.