At 7 years old, Max is a smart and sociable kid and the center of attention wherever he goes.
Max loves his jiu jitsu classes, riding on the back of a tandem bike and can’t get enough of jumping on a trampoline.
Max was born in China and, when he was one year old, he was diagnosed with retinoblastoma a cancer of the eye.
Doctors in China enucleated his left eye to prevent the cancer’s spread. Enucleation means the eye is removed, but the eye muscles and orbital contents are left intact.
Max was living in an orphanage when doctors found cancer in the right eye as well. He underwent chemotherapy that drove the cancer into remission, even though the conditions were less than optimal.
In the meantime, on the other side of the globe, Shane and Yanin, who already had two biological children, decided they wanted to expand their family though adoption.
In 2018, the couple traveled to China and came home to Illinois with their new son, then 4 years old. But a few months later, doctors found four active tumors in the boy’s right eye. The family quickly headed for St. Jude.
Families, like Max's, will never receive a bill from St. Jude for treatment, travel, housing or food.
Shortly after treatment began, doctors discovered still more tumors. They told Shane and Yanin that Max’s remaining eye should be enucleated. If not, the cancer might spread to his brain. The couple agreed.
“We had to think of the life of Max before the eye of Max,” Shane said.
Today, Shane and Yanin marvel at how well Max has adjusted, given all he’s been through.
St. Jude means the life of our child. Our little warrior has been through so much in China, and he definitely needed the best doctors to help him. He needed St. Jude.
Max is learning Braille while also picking up a little Spanish. He rides the school bus with classmates and plays just as hard as any kid. His best friend at school often takes him by the hand, and together they run across the playground as fast as ever.
Nothing holds him back
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