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3D digital artist and inspiration for Team Mighty Max

As Max stepped up to ring the Golden Bell at the end of his cancer treatment in September 2023, he was surrounded by more than 100 friends, family members, and care team members holding pompoms, throwing streamers, and cheering loudly. It had been a difficult journey for Max through treatment, and his community rallied around him every step of the way.

Surprisingly, it wasn’t cancer that initially brought Max to Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital Stanford. It was diabetes.

Max’s dad, Zac, is in the military. In 2021—when the family was stationed in Phoenix—they learned that Max had Type 1 diabetes. Max’s mom, Paige, dove into research and learned that Packard Children’s and the Stanford School of Medicine have strong endocrinology programs and great patient care. The family asked to be transferred to the Bay Area so Max could receive care from Stanford doctors. 

Then, one night Max came to the emergency department with extreme stomach pain. It came as a shock to learn Max had stage 3 Burkitt lymphoma, a rare and aggressive cancer. Paige looks back in gratitude for the emergency doctor who helped prepare the family for what would come next. There was never any doubt that Packard Children’s would be their home for cancer care, too. 

“We are so thankful we are where we are,” Paige says. “People come to Stanford for the second opinion, but we were already here.”

Treating the Whole Child

The Bass Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Diseases at Packard Children’s is committed to supporting the whole child through treatment. That was evident to Max’s family as they watched him benefit from child life specialists, including Holley Lorber, MS, CCLS. Holley would stop by with surprise activities and gifts and brought humor to difficult days. 

“Max’s treatment involved therapy infusions that required weeklong stays,” Paige says. “From the room attendants to the attending doctors, everyone treated us with compassion and concern.  We were always greeted with warm smiles. Our social worker was always available to communicate and walk us through what to expect from Day 1. From music therapy, teen room, chaplain, and palliative care, it seemed like we were constantly engaged and given resources to stay uplifted during our stay.”

Team Mighty Max

While Max was still in treatment, his family created Team Mighty Max for the 2023 Summer Scamper 5k and kids’ fun run. The team raised nearly $9,000 for child life and creative arts! This year, Team Mighty Max is back and excited for Max to be honored as a Summer Scamper Patient Hero. 

Come cheer on Team Mighty Max on Race Day and help us raise more money for our Children’s Fund to ensure all families have access to wonderful programs like child life, as well as extraordinary care and research at our hospital and the School of Medicine. 


Go Mighty Max!