In the weeks leading up to Christmas 2017, Maverick had been lethargic – just not himself. But while his parents were celebrating Christmas a couple days late with his grandparents, he took a turn for the worse.
“So we said,” remembered his dad, Michael, “'let’s stop by the doctor just to make sure he doesn’t need medicine.'”
This was more than a prescription could fix. On New Year’s Eve, Maverick was sent to the hospital with abnormal blood work.
“I guess it was the morning of January 2 our doctor gave us the news,” said Michael. Maverick had acute lymphoblastic leukemia – a cancer of the blood.
Within hours, Maverick was referred to St. Jude Children's Research Hospital, and arrived via ambulance.
“It was a comfort to know we were going to St. Jude,” Michael said. “We didn’t even hesitate. There’s no second opinion when you hear the words St. Jude. That’s where you want to go.”
Coincidentally, Maverick’s parents were familiar with St. Jude because they had been giving for years.
“His mom had been donating since we were dating,” said Michael. “You can’t beat the percentages on survival rates, and that makes you realize, this has to be a good cause.”
Still, they never imagined their own son would need St. Jude.
Maverick’s mom, Stevie, said, “You don’t think you’ll ever have to face a big crisis in your life – it’s always somebody else. And then it happens to you. Until you’re here, you don’t realize the magnitude of what this place really can do for your family. You don’t have to worry about insurance. There’s no pre-authorizations that they have to run. There’s nothing that says, 'oh, you can’t have this because your insurance won’t pay for it.'”
Families never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food — because all a family should worry about is helping their child live.
“The doctors call the shots, and it happens instantaneously,” said Michael. “It doesn’t take hours and hours for things to develop around the red tape. You take the rule of health care and you throw it out the door when you come to St. Jude.”
St. Jude means new life to me.
Resilient Maverick continues on chemotherapy. After this family’s difficult start to 2018, they entered 2019 with a new perspective that will surely last into 2020 and beyond.
“Cancer makes you realize that this life could change instantly,” said Stevie. “We are forever grateful to St. Jude.”
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