A Childhood Cancer Survivor Blogging about the World of Childhood Cancer

Posts tagged ‘Max Nunn’

Why I Shave… Max is Forever Seven


Is it possible for someone you have never met to influence your life in deep, profound way? I am not speaking of a famous writer, thinker, actor, athlete, or speaker. The person who has had one of the deepest influences on my life is a seven year-old boy… a seven year-old boy who will remain seven forever.  

Maxwell Kincaid Nunn was born on February 6, 2003. Max passed on Thanksgiving Day 2010. 

From Max’s obituary:

“Max was diagnosed with a Primitive Neuroectodermal Tumor (PNET) of the Central Nervous System (CNS). 

Max enjoyed was hunting & spending time with his dad. He liked riding his quad. Time spent hanging out with his friends, sitting by bonfires, collecting gadgets opening the mail & riding in his dad’s truck were some of the things that made Max happy. He also liked to go fishing, playing sports, and listening to music.

Max was an awesome individual with a heart melting smile that touched the lives of countless people across the world.”

Max Nunn

What I want people to know about Max is not written in his obituary. While Max was valiantly battling brain cancer– and at seven years old– he began raising money for pediatric cancer research. Yes, adults, please listen up. At seven years old, while existing in a body riddled with cancer, Max Nunn fully grasped the concept that we need to raise money for research in order to stop the beast called childhood cancer. I loved reading the posts each day where Max would open a pile of mail– envelopes with dollar bills in them that Max would send to St. Baldrick’s Foundation. His family shared his battle with photos, videos, and words of truth.  Max’s smile could melt the polar ice caps. Max’s personality could light up the world in the middle of a full-blown power failure. Max’s heart to help children fighting cancer lit a fire in me. I can never think of Max without hearing him say, “Two bucks, I mean it!” Max was serious about raising money for pediatric cancer research; he had no hesitation in asking people to give. It wasn’t for him… it was for the kids.

The Nunn family

There is no such thing as giving too little, only a matter of giving or not giving. Every “Two Bucks” matters. 

It’s no surprise that Max’s mom and sister have both shaved their heads to raise money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation. Max’s dad also works passionately for the cause of raising money for pediatric cancer research. I have tremendous respect for the Nunn family’s decision to share Max’s story with us.   Because they chose to share, I have been able to learn what we need to do to, what I need to do. If I can raise money for research by shaving my head, and honor courageous children by doing it, then bring on the razor. Over the next month, as shave day approaches, I will be sharing stories of childhood cancer warriors. I want to remember, and I want everyone else to know, I am shaving to honor them. I am shaving because I love them. 

 Max Nunn

I have been given the gift of loving this boy named Max… who will forever be seven.  Although Max will forever remain seven, the seeds he planted in me will grow like Sequoia Trees. 

My love for Maxwell Kinkaid Nunn the Great is one HUGE reason I will become bald again. I can hear Max saying it now, “Two bucks, I mean it!” 

Please consider a Two Buck donation in honor and in memory of Max.


Intelligence and Awareness– Two Different Things

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

“If we are to teach real peace in this world, and if we are to carry on a real war against war, we shall have to begin with the children.”                                                                                                                          ~Ghandi

 Each time I speak at a book club, I learn something new. Last Friday’s Book Club for AAUW (American Association of University Women) was no exception. This is one thing I learned: if a woman is highly educated, it does not necessarily mean that she knows anything about childhood cancer. One woman admitted to me that she had wiggled and struggled to get out of reading my book because the subject of childhood cancer is not one she wants to explore. She then admitted she was very glad she did read it. She went on to ask excellent questions, even giving me multiple opportunities to explain that when children are diagnosed with cancer, 80% have advanced stages of the disease. They were dumbfounded when I told them that this figure is only 20% in adults—because adults are much more aware and those who treat them are as well.

Their intelligent minds went on to develp another important question, “What causes childhood cancer?” I will bet that most Americans can tell you what causes cancer in adults. I will further bet that most Americans cannot tell you what causes cancer in children.

Top medical professionals cannot tell us what causes cancer in children, so how would anyone else know? I answered their question by telling them the truth, “We do not know what causes any of the twelve major types of childhood cancer. We just don’t know.”

This is one huge reason why we need to pour money and time into childhood cancer research. I learned yesterday about Gabrielle Sassin, who is raising money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in honor of his sister, who is a survivor.

“My son is participating in the math-a-thon to raise as much money as he can for St. Jude in honor of his big sister a cancer survivor and many others just like her. He only has 2 more days left, Will you please help him in his effort, each day he comes home from school he asks me to check his page, it would be really awesome if I told him he made it to $300 today:) Here is the link to his page, if you cannot donate anything please share his link, at least go check out his page because he feels very important and cool to have a page of his very own. Here is the link….”


This reminds me of how Lily Nunn shaved her head to raise money for St. Baldrick’s to honor the memory of her brother, Max. When I see young children acting for the benefit of other children in need, it gets me. It really, really gets me. Instead of claiming their “right” to be a carefree, self-centered kid, they decide to turn the care in their hearts into more than just care.  Instead of being carefree, these special children give their care freely.

When I see children leading the way to work for good, creating hope, and shining like brilliant examples of goodness, I feel blessed. Kids like this give the rest of us a good rep!

Thank you to all the Little Hope Creators.


I think this doggie needs to be a Therapy Dog!




Spark Lighters

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

“There can be no keener revelation of a society’s soul than the way in which it treats its children.”                                                    

~Nelson Mandela, former president of South Africa

 It is a good thing when we are reminded of the importance of human life and the importance of living our lives the best we can live them. Daily life has a way of running us into ruts where we discontinue maintaining our concern for other humans. Then, we lose a bit of our own humanity. It takes a spark to get our humanity back. Gradually, we see our fellow humans clearly. We see their needs, their sorrows and their suffering. Because we have that Spark, we see our part, our purpose, and we move forward with purpose to make change.

One huge Spark in my life has been a seven year-old boy (who should have turned nine on February 6th) named Max Nunn. The day I saw his face and heard how he was bravely fighting brain cancer, I fell in love with his heart. I fell in love with a little boy named Max. I watched how, at seven years old, Max raised money for St. Baldrick’s & pediatric cancer research, “Two Bucks” at a time. I don’t think a day ever goes by that I don’t think of Max.

Following a child who is fighting cancer on Facebook or CaringBridge helps educate us about what kids and their families are facing. There is so much we can learn. Our hearts will grow, not shrivel.

Some Facebook sites:

Braden’s Army

Emmalee’s Angels

1,000 Candles for Baby Reef

Anjali’s Army

The Spark can even spring moments of laughter from where there is utter chaos.

In this video, a toddler with cancer laughs for the first time after chemo. I am grateful for the Spark someone lit inside of him!

I believe when you watch the video… this little boy will light a Spark inside of you.

Oh yes, he lit my Spark, he did, just like my buddy, Max.

I love this photo of Max. The SPARKle in his eyes gets me every time!

Mission Possible

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer And Recovery

Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to click to help make this happen…

The Isaiah Alonso Foundation has been nominated to win a free brand makeover, ad campaign and website, provided by advertising agency Chimpanzee.  https://www.facebook.com/chimpmybrand

Voting runs until midnight EST on September 30th. Every single vote really matters!



Please vote. It will only take a minute of your time.

There are many others who are dedicating their lives; I know we can take the time for a little clicky-poo to help The Isaiah Alsonso Foundation. Did you know that one of the 46 Mommas is Cheryl Alonso, Isaiah’s mommy?

                                                                                                                                                                                          Mrs. Jodie Nunn is someone I look up to and admire.  She has taught me  things about life… and I have never even met her. Jodie and her family      make me look for how I can do more to help stop childhood cancer. If  more of us become just a bit more like the Nunn’s, the Mission to stop  childhood cancer is certainly possible.

 Ms Cheryl, Ms Jodie, and all of the 46 Mommas make me know we can all  do more. We can all give more. 

 Yes… until there is not a speck of hair on our heads… if that is what is  takes.

 From Mr. Tom Nunn to his beautiful wife (and 46 Momma) Jodie:

 “I look up to Max‘s Momma more today than I thought was possible. I  am so sorry Jodie that you had to do today what you wanted to do that  I wish no Momma will ever have to do again some day. You made Lilly  and I so very proud and added even more meaning to Max’s life and  legacy than I ever imagined possible. I still hurt the same as you do too  but we have taken one more step forward to ending the monster                           little c.                  I Love You Jodie.”


46 Momma Jodie Nunn

The Truth Is, It Takes Sacrifice

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer And Recovery

“A man never stands as tall as when he kneels to help a child.” ~ Abraham Lincoln

 “If our American way of life fails the child, it fails us all. ~Pearl S. Buck

“Children are one third of our population and all of our future.”  ~Select Panel for the Promotion of Child Health, 1981

“Children are the world’s most valuable resource and its best hope for the future.” ~John Fitzgerald Kennedy

“It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.” ~ Frederick Douglass

In recognizing this month of September as Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, I am happy to share these quotes about children.  Today, and every day (believe me!!!!!) I want to give an outpouring of loving thanks to the people who work with and treat childhood cancer patients.  I have heard people say over and over again, “How can anyone do that… work with very sick children?” Right now, at this very moment, I want to express my sincere gratitude to everyone who “is able” to work with sick kids. Thank you for choosing the path you have chosen so that I – and many other children—are able to be here today.

I want to personally thank Dr. Dan, Dr. Gonzalez, Dr. A., Dr. Keshen, Dr. Pickert, and the entire staff at Cottage Hospital.

When I imagine the sacrifice it takes, not only to achieve the needed education, but to live each day with the great emotional impact of their occupations, my respect and admiration grows for everyone who has stepped into the “ring” of fighting childhood cancer.  What would we do if no one sacrificed?

The quotes above remind us that “our” children are more than worth sacrificing for. Giving now to help stop childhood cancer will certainly act as an “Insurance Policy” for our children in the future. You don’t need to get a medical degree, or work in a hospital, or even work with sick children… we all have something to give. 

Sharing from Max’s Facebook page:

600 CHILDREN get DX with cANCER a day 365 days a year. 200 children die from it each day 365 days a year. Is your child safe? $$ = Protection for children. Please buy a policy from www.curesearch.orgwww.stbaldricks.org orwww.alexslemonade.org and treat your children’s future like you would your auto. Are your Children’s future in good hands? No restrictions apply, valid worldwide. STOP CHILDHOOD cANCER!

“The child must know that he is a miracle, that since the beginning of the world there hasn’t been, and until the end of the world there will not be, another child like him.” ~ Pablo Casals

46-7 Stop Childhood cancer


Think About the Unthinkable


Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Welcome to the month of September.

This is National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. 

“The White House announced today that September has been declared National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month.

President Barack Obama made the proclamation to highlight the recent successes in treating pediatric cancer and to underscore the challenges still facing young people dealing with life-threatening diseases.”

From an article in Hem/Onc Today, dated September 2, 2011 (today!)


My friends, I ask you to continue your fight against childhood cancer. For those of you who may read these words who have never looked to face the world of childhood cancer, I ask you to turn and look.

What I want you to see most of all is not a “what,” but many “who’s.”

The children…

It is our serious responsibility to care for the young in our society. If each and every adult knew that tomorrow, 46 random U. S. children will be “chosen” as cancer victims, I don’t see how we can live on without swift, determined action. I don’t see how we can look at these faces and not think about how their lives matter. The dearest way we can show  that their lives matter is to make a difference for the children of the future.


Thank you to everyone who is building the Childhood cancer War Machine for your hours of dedication, sweat, and tears. You know exactly who you are.

I do too.

For everyone else, please bring yourself to think about what is truly “Unthinkable.”

Children do get cancer.

If we know the truth, well…I guess we each have to think about it, and then think about what part we each play in that truth.

Without a doubt, we are all called to action.



“Unthinkable” by Alicia Keyes (played by Melinda in my Team Max Shirt (which by the way is a fashion “must have!”)


Go ahead… think about the unthinkable… 

Beware, you will fall in love with the children, over and over again.

Fair warning.



Dear Mr. or Ms. BIG NAME Fashion Designer

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

I am sitting here in my soft, long-sleeved, pink “Team Max” shirt and ideas are bouncing around in my brainola like ping-pong balls. I love my Team Max shirt! I love not only its softness, but most of all that I am able to raise awareness of childhood cancer every time I wear it. I even have the opportunity to answer people when they ask, “Who is Max?” This is my very favorite part; I love having the chance to tell people about one of my biggest heroes. Max set a goal of raising $100,000 for St. Baldrick’s and pediatric cancer research, inspiring multitudes to give with his motto, “Two bucks, I mean it!” At only seven years old, Max knew all about giving and helping others. Last Thanksgiving Day, Max’s family learned the pain of saying good-bye to him. They are now carrying on Max’s mission to raise money for pediatric cancer research, and I have no doubt they will surpass Max’s goal.

Now for the “Bouncing Brainola” part…

I admit that I am “fashion challenged,” and have little knowledge of “what is hot.” Those name brands that have sky-high price tags just because they have a Hot Fashion Name puzzle me.

What if…

What if Team Max, Braden’s Hope for Childhood Cancer, B+Foundation (“It’s not a grade, it’s an attitude!”) Alexa’s Pediatric Cancer Foundation, Arms Wide Open, Isaiah Alonso Foundation, et al suddenly became popular high fashion? What if everyone suddenly needed fashion gear that not only covers their body and keeps them warm, but it fights childhood cancer every time it is purchased?

Maybe there is someone in the Hot Fashion Designer Name business who would like to give their name to help raise money for childhood cancer– just by lending their name, their brand.

Like I admitted before, I am fashion challenged; my knowledge in this area is slim to none. Please Mr. or Mrs. Fashion Designer with a BIG NAME, step forward into the light so I may see you and welcome you to the most noble of worlds you can live in… the world of helping children in great need.

Max, Mighty Leader and my Hero









TwitterLand People, please copy, tweet this, and vote to help raise money for Isaiah Alonso Foundation!

Pls RT & vote #kidsmatter 50k from #pepsirefresh http://t.co/P6M3zFg @The_IAF is #kickasscause@socialvest!







Loving Lilly

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

I have been thinking of Lilly all day long.  Today is the day she shaves her head for the brave, unselfish, honorable reason of raising money for St. Baldrick’s Foundation and for childhood cancer research.  Lilly is not yet a teenager, yet she has boldly stepped forward to carry on her brother’s mission of raising money to stop childhood cancer… even if it is two bucks at a time. 

I ask you today to show your love for Lilly. I ask you to do it now.  (I can see you shaking in your boots like I am looking at you, and you are right, I am!) There is a great saying in “The King & I,” where the King of Siam says, “Now is always best time.”  I have found this to be very valuable in my life; I am asking that you try practicing it right now by clicking the link below:


Right now is the best time to act… and I would love for you to let me know about it by commenting!  Now that you have clicked the link, you are halfway there! (Don’t start sweating and panicking!)  You have the opportunity now to decide how much you would like to donate. I will not accept any excuses. “I can’t afford it” will not work with me.  I will just ask you to give up that Starbuck’s, or eat beans for a night, or even use less toilet paper (hee hee!) If Lilly can show love for her brother, Max, and other children fighting cancer with this exceptional act of love and kindness, the least we can do is dig deep… very, very deep within ourselves to locate something– anything– to give.  As Max would tell people, “Two bucks, I mean it!”  If you have “Two Bucks” to give… you have something wonderful to give!

May I please cover possible excuse #2?  “I don’t have time” won’t work with me either.  Get up five minutes earlier or go to bed five minutes later.  Give up five minutes of that silly television show that is garbling your brain cells and recognize we have a hero among us! 

Just like her brother Max, Lilly is a true hero.

It is a joy, and a truly humbling experience, to support Lilly.

I just did!

Incredible Super-Sib Lilly

Love Cannot Hate, It Can Only Conquer

Cancer hates love.

How do I know?

From what I know about the world of childhood cancer, I know that love can deal cancer its fatal blow. I’m not saying that treatment isn’t necessary– just that treatment combined with piles of love is medicine cancer can’t take. What I am saying is that cancer hates love because it can’t take our love away from us. Cancer can torture and take away People Shells, but it can’t rip the love from our hearts. Cancer must hate love, but love cannot ever hate cancer.

Love cannot hate, it can only conquer.

Love never, ever fails.

I remember moments during my battle with cancer where I knew I had the choice whether to live or die. Guess why I chose to fight? Love.

This does not mean that fallen childhood cancer “Messengers” did not choose love. It means their body could not withstand the Monster. Their tiny “Shells” had enough. Even when the sweet, wise Messengers are gone from the Earth, they remain in the hearts of so many of us—I do believe our love is multiplied from them being who they are. We learn to love better and deeper long after their bright smiles are no longer here. Cancer #cannottouchthis!

Please pray for the family of Jayden… a beautiful Hope Hero I had the blessing of meeting just a short time ago at Braden’s Run. Cancer took her from us.

“Don’t keep hugs wrapped up inside you, un-wrap them and give them away.”

                                                                                              ~Melinda Marchiano


No reason to keep one speck of love inside you either… give it all away.

Don’t you love when love conquers???!  Who is in your heart?

Love you Max!

Souls in Tiny People Shells

Grace: A Child's Intimate Journey Through Cancer and Recovery

Sometimes I wonder why we need to walk around in these stinkin’ People Shells. Please forgive me God— I am very, very grateful for my body. I call them “stinkin” because they get messed up, they mess you up, and they give out.

When I hear of another cancer child losing the battle… like Savannah Swandal…

I wonder why.

Savannah will be forever 11, but her smile will be forever mixed with all the love I store in my heart. I never had the pleasure of meeting her here on this Earth, but I look forward to meeting her where she dances now. She must be dancing, with Breanna, and Max, and Alexa, and so many others.

Imagine children in their heavenly bodies dancing and giggling, while God watches them with a love we will never come close to witnessing on this globe. There is a joy and a peace and a happiness that fills their spirits beyond what is beyond what is beyond…

This joy awaits us. Every one of us.

We must be called to love one another.

Being stuffed into this People Shell gets tough… watching our loved ones suffer in their People Shell is torture.

While I am here in this Shell, I pledge to do all I can to make cancer disappear from People Shells—beginning with Tiny People Shells.

I love you, Souls in Tiny People Shells:)

Praying for Savannah’s family. Grateful for the love Savannah shared with all of us.

Savannah Swandal


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