For several weeks toward the end of 2017, Maverick, a usually rambunctious, playful boy, was lethargic. His parents, Michael and Stevie, assumed he’d picked up a bug at day care.
But during a holiday celebration with relatives, Maverick still felt bad. Blood work came back abnormal, so on New Year’s Eve, Maverick’s parents took him to the hospital.
Two days later, tests revealed Maverick had acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a type of blood cancer. Within hours, he was headed to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital by ambulance.
“I think it was a comfort to know we were going to St. Jude,” said Michael. “We didn’t even hesitate. There’s no second opinion when you hear the words St. Jude. That’s where you want to go.”
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.
Maverick’s family was familiar with St. Jude because Stevie has donated to the hospital for years.
“But we didn’t really know anything about St. Jude,” she said. “Until you’re here, you don’t really understand the magnitude of what this place really can do for your family.”
Treatments invented at St. Jude have helped push the overall childhood cancer survival rate from 20% to more than 80% since it opened more than 50 years ago.
St. Jude means new life to me.
At St. Jude, Maverick’s treatment will include two-and-a-half years of chemotherapy. Treatment hasn’t slowed him down much. He’s a busy kid who loves fishing, crabbing, boating and playing with his younger brother and sister. Maverick wants to be a doctor when he grows up.
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