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Max is a fun-loving, energetic, passionate, creative and compassionate boy. His ever-growing list of interests include: soccer, karate, dinosaurs, dragons, construction equipment, monster trucks, filmmaking, drawing, music and late night dance parties.
Max has a tremendous amount of courage and high expectations for himself. When he was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at age 4, he faced every challenge head on and with a curiously light-hearted spirit. He can become friends with everyone he meets and is quick to put a smile on someone's face, especially if he can tell they are not feeling well or are scared.
In May 2015, Max went to the doctors to figure out why he had some bruises that were hard to explain. His pediatrician said they needed to go to the hospital to figure out how to help Max feel better. When Max got to the hospital he found out he needed to have surgery to install his "Ironman Port" - a tube that lets the doctors give Max the medicine he needs to feel better. The surgeons made the tube look just like an ARC Reactor - the thing in Ironman's chest that gives him power.
When Max woke up from surgery he became IronMax! IronMax was quickly called into action against a sinister villain named Sneaky Leu, aka leukemia, who hides little germs in his blood. The doctors and nurses gave IronMax the power to defeat the germs by using his Ironman Port.
Max is currently in the maintenance phase of treatment. When treatment started he and his parents spent over two months in the hospital. In addition to fighting Sneaky Leu, Max also had to fight off a nasty fungal infection for over nine months. It was a pain but he had an amazing team of nurses, doctors, family and friends to help him get through the hardest part of treatment.
Max learned how to take pills when he was four years old and even made a video to help other kids learn how to take pills too. He learned how to stay calm when the nurses had to access his port.
His family hopes that Max can have a long and healthy life and the trials he has faced so far will help him be resilient and filled with gratitude and compassion.
Max taught his parents the most important lessons for living a good life:
- Make the most out of every moment.
- Open your heart to those who love you.
As for lessons they want to pass along to others, they have several:
- Let others help you.
- Don't be afraid to be honest with your child. They are stronger than you think.
- Eat lots of ice cream.
To them, Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation illustrates that the spirit of a child fighting cancer may be the most powerful force on the planet. They are channeling that idea by holding numerous lemonade stands since Max was diagnosed and participating in the Alex’s Million Mile campaign each year.
Hero Quote: "Don't give up!" – Max
Information provided by Michael Cassano, Max’s dad
Updated September 2017
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