At the hospital they give me chemo (that's what Mom calls it) every week. It makes me feel really yucky, but Mom says it's helping me to get better, and then I get to ride around in my red wagon with the other kids as long as I want.
We've had lots of visitors from Telluride, Ridgway and Boulder a bunch of my buddies and their parents have come to see me and my mom and they push me around in my red wagon. It's been good for my mom to see her friends because it's just me and her, and she needs the help. She hasn't worked in four months, and says she's broke. I don't know what that means because she seems to work great to me, but Mom says it's about money.
Anyway, my friends' parents are throwing us a party back home in Telluride. It's called a fun-raiser or something. I wish I could come, but I'm not allowed to leave my room, except to go across the street in my wagon to the hospital.
Anyway, I wrote this letter to invite you all to my fun-raiser. I hope you can come, and I'll see you all in a year, when I'm better. We'll share some French fries because mom says it's good to share.
Two-year-old Max Schuetz is a little boy dealing with a big disease. Leukemia is the most common cancer in children, according to the American Cancer Society, accounting for about one-third of all cancers in children under the age of 15. The ACS estimates that about 2,800 new cases of leukemia will be found in children in 2006.
Leukemia is a cancer of the blood-forming cells, most often involving the white blood cells, but it can involve other blood cell types as well. The exact cause of most cases of leukemia is not known.
Max is currently doing well and responding to treatment, but his health continues to fluctuate. He's unable to do much walking and prefers to use his red wagon to get around. Throughout his treatment the needles, the medicine, the chemotherapy Max still manages to smile.
Max's mother, Bobbi Browner, moved to the Telluride area 11 years ago, leaving briefly to pursue her passion for snowboarding, and returning in 2001 to earn her real estate license. She has worked for Ray Bowers at Peaks Real Estate, and most recently worked for Ponderosa Real Estate in Ridgway. She has also worked with the Telluride Adaptive Sports Program teaching deaf children to snowboard. Browner plans to return to Ridgway with Max as soon as he is healthy enough to leave the hospital, which may not be for another six to eight months.
A "fun-raiser" for Max is being organized by local friends of Browner and sponsored by a nonprofit organization out of Durango called Country Kids With Cancer (www.countrykidswithcancer.com). Cindi Shank founded CKWC in 2001, after her daughter became ill with cancer. The financial challenges the Shank family faced prompted her to create the organization to help other families in the same situation. Since its inception, CKWC has helped, on average, six families a year in the Four Corners area that have children coping with cancer. The organization helps pay for travel and medical expenses in connection with the child's illness. Shank's daughter, Sarah, has been in remission for four years.
Country Kids has been helping Max and his mother pay expenses related to their six-month stay at the Ronald McDonald House, which, contrary to popular belief, is not a free service.
Max's fun-raiser dance party will be held Friday, March 31, at the Silver Trestle Building on Telluride's main street. The event will immediately follow the end-of-ski-season community street dance. Doors open at 6 p.m. and a silent auction will run until 10 p.m., with goods donated from surrounding San Juan communities (including two lift tickets to Silverton Mountain, goodies from Slopestyle, Paragon, Holy Shirt, HQ Shades, Lupita's, Cimarron Music, a cut and color by Maria, gift certificate to Daymaker's Salon of Ridgway, meals from Sandy's Sunshine Kitchen and La Cocina de Luz, two nights at the San Juan Huts Systems, acupuncture by Karen Nance, massage by Honeybee Bodyworks, and more). Music will be provided for the event by local band Upshot, DJ Smothered in Chedda and Bredren, until 1 a.m.
A portion of the proceeds of the fun-raiser will go to CKWC's general fund to help other families in the region.
A medical fund has also been set up for Max by CKWC at Alpine Bank. Stop by Alpine Bank and ask about the Country Kids With Cancer Max Schuetz Medical Fund, account #1620001007, to make a tax-deductible donation. Max will receive 100 percent of all donations.
Volunteers are needed to help with the fun-raiser, including set-up and decorating, food, soft drinks, security, experienced bartenders, and break-down help. Contact Cathie Seward at 728-2903 or email@example.com, Melanie McDonald at 728-1592, or firstname.lastname@example.org to volunteer.
To donate an item or service for the silent auction, contact Mandy White at 728-8697 or email@example.com. The contact in Ridgway is Poki, 626-4371 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
So after one of the last days on the mountain, bring yourself down to main street for the after-the-street dance fun-raiser dance party for Max. Enjoy some great tunes, great stuff, cold beers, and fresh margs, with all proceeds going directly to Max's family and a portion going to help out other families like them.