June 24, 2021
“When a mother loses a child, she loses her best friend, the love of her life, her hopes, her dreams, her world. It’s tough trying to come back after that but we do. Somehow, we make it. It’s one hell of a bumpy ride, a rollercoaster of emotions but with a bit of love and hope we can do this”
2019 at 5 months old, a smiley, happy, giggling baby boy, Max and his family, were about to receive some news that would change everything forever. Max initially had no symptoms known to his parents until he became unsettled at home and his Mum Suzie spotted a change in his breathing. He was taken to A&E and incorrectly diagnosed with pneumonia and treated with antibiotics. Specialists were called in when Max started to deteriorate and before they knew it, their world had been turned upside down having been told 3 devastating words “Max has cancer”. Max was diagnosed with a Malignant Rhabdoid Tumor, a rare childhood cancer, which meant that family life as they knew it was to change drastically. They moved into Great Ormond Street Hospital so that Max could receive the treatment and 247 care he needed, he lived there with his mum, Suzie, and spent many months in and out of intensive care, received intense chemotherapy every 2 weeks and many other treatments in an attempt to fight the cancer and keep Max alive.
“Max’s cancer was extremely rare, but “rare” has no significance when it’s happening to you”
After receiving the devastating news that Max’s cancer had spread and there were no further treatments available, the family made the decision to transfer Max to the Shooting Star Children’s Hospice (@sschospices), where they spent their final days together. The hospice supports babies, children and young people with life-limiting conditions, and their families across London and Surrey. Whether lives are measured in days, weeks, months or years, they are there to make every moment count.
They support families from diagnosis to end of life, and throughout bereavement, with a range of nursing, practical, emotional and medical care. The work they do is truly outstanding. Shooting Stars rely entirely on donations, they sadly do not get any funding from the government.
Since Max’s passing, Suzie has worked very hard on raising money for Shooting Stars, so that she can give back and support other families going through a similar experience to the one she went through with Max. Since leading various fundraising opportunities for Shooting Stars and Great Ormond Street Hospital, Suzie has taken such joy out of being able to give back to the places that helped Max, and support so many families in difficult circumstances, that she decided to launch her own charity, in loving memory of Max and to keep his legacy alive. MaxTheBraveFund.org is now in the process of becoming an official registered charity, a very proud moment for Suzie and her family. The fund
The charity supports children and their families through extensive and recurring stays in hospital. They have a number of fundraising opportunities in the pipeline, including a festival in 2022!
The Max The Brave Fund aims to relieve the charitable needs of the parents of seriously ill children (cancer or rare disease) in hospital by:
- Issuing grants to help out with buying meals, paying utility bills, rent and mortgage payments, as the world sadly keeps turning when their world has stopped.
- Supplying children with birthday/life celebrations on the hospital wards (we are currently already doing this at G.O.S.H) As we know just how important it is to make those significant memories and how hard it can be to reach a birthday or milestone.
- Raising awareness, building a community, telling Max’s story and spreading lots of love.
- We also have special named funds with Great Ormond Street Hospital and the Grace Kelly Childhood Cancer Trust which fund research into childhood cancers and rare diseases and Shooting Star Children’s Hospice who rely on our donations to provide such an incredible service to families as they go through their worst nightmare.
“We aim to take the strain out of everyday reality so that families can focus on being a family. You never realise how important charity is until you need it”.