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A Stand For Hope: My Personal Story And A Plea To Donate To Alex's Lemonade Stand

The Brotherly Game is a soccer site, but it is also where I spend a lot of time throughout the week. Due to the fact that I see this as an extension of myself, I feel it's prudent to post the following. It is post about myself a someone I was lucky to spend almost a decade around. I originally wrote it on Twitter, so I'm slightly ashamed of the lack of length in terms of how much I talked about Max, but it's from the heart and I think that's the most important thing when talking about him.:

Since Alex's Lemonade's time on the CW prompted that story about Max, I'll start by saying that he crossed paths with Alex at one point. Both were incredibly strong young individuals that continue to help to fight cancer and aid others despite departing from this world.

Max was my best friend from the summer after fourth grade until he passed away in the spring of our junior year of high school. There were points in our friendship were he nearly died - multiple times I was told after his eventual death.

All the while I was ignorant of what was going on with him beyond his outward appearance and the short updates I got from him when I saw him. We never let cancer become the third wheel of our long friendship.

What I took pride in was that I was a friend of someone who went out of his way to help other kids who were suffering from Neuroblastoma, the type of cancer he had. Max would take experimental drugs and provide samples whenever possible in order to further the progression of treatment for the disease.

Instead of asking if something would hurt or if he would get sicker from a new treatment, Max would ask if the drug could potentially help others. If the answer was yes, no matter how small the potential, he'd go on the experimental drug.

I don't think I'll ever feel better about having a friend than him. A month or so after his death, the doctor that had worked with Max at CHOP had a breakthrough in a Neuroblastoma treatment, partially due in part to the tissue/cancer cell samples he collected with the help of his patients.

I remember reading the article in the Inquirer and thinking that one of those samples had to be from Max. Even if none of them were, I know to this day that Max had a positive impact on the lives of other people - families and kids - due to his efforts in trying to help others.

It's tough to think of him or of his family due to everything that went on, but I always get a smile on my face when playing any Mario Kart game or listening to Weird Al because of him.

877-KYW-3ASK (877-599-3275) is the line for 'A Stand for Hope' if you'd like to donate while the phone bank is open (until 8 p.m.). You can also donate by clicking the hyperlinked text here.