Friday 30 September 2016

Mother launches heartwarming campaign for wrestling fan (6) suffering second round of cancer

Meadhbh McGrath

Published 10/06/2016 | 16:51

Max (6)
Max (6) "eats, sleeps and breathes" wrestling. Photo: Facebook

The mother of a six-year-old boy who was diagnosed with cancer for the second time in his life has launched a campaign to put a smile back on her son’s face.

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Max Wenman, from Longford, “eats, sleeps and breathes” wrestling, according to his mum Cathy Birmingham.

When his family learned his cancer had returned, they reached out to friends and family to see if anyone had any old WWE memorabilia they would donate to cheer Max up.

They were soon flooded with dozens of wrestling figures and toys, and now the wrestling party company Low Blows are set to host a #MemorabiliaForMax collection at the Woolshed Baa and Grill in Dublin on June 19.

Max was originally diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a rare form of cancer that develops in the nerve cells outside the brain of young infants, just two weeks after his second birthday.

“He went through the whole treatment over 18 months with chemo, stem cell transplants, radiotherapy and then six months of therapy antibodies. That was nearly three years ago now,” Cathy told Independent.ie.

“He was free, he was brilliant until now. He was having check-ups every three months, but a couple of weeks ago I noticed he started limping.”

When they were sent to Our Lady’s Children’s Hospital, Crumlin, they learned that the disease was back on Max’s femur bone.

While they were waiting to perform a biopsy on the bone, Max fell during playtime at school and broke the femur.

“He has a body cast down to his toe on one leg and half of his other leg. They’ve brought the biospies forward, and it’s confirmed he’s relapsed with neuroblastoma, but it’s only a very small amount. Oncologists said it’s the best outcome of a bad situation.”

Yesterday, Max began chemotherapy treatment, which will be administered for five days in a row before a three-week break, to be repeated in six cycles. Once he has completed treatment, he will undergo another scan.

“We only found out he relapsed a couple of weeks ago, and we were buying him a wrestler every day because he was so traumatised from the tests,” his mum said.

“He is really good, he’s been in the cast a week and he’s not complained once about it.

"The day before yesterday, I said I’d cut the grass, and he started crying because normally he’d sweep the grass up for me but he said, ‘I can’t help you’. I brought him out on a bean bag so he could watch me do it.”

She added: “I’m kind of disappointed that we’re back here because he was doing so good for three years, but he’s a happy little thing for all he’s been through.”

Max fell in love with wrestling 10 months ago, and even picked a wrestling nickname for himself: Mighty Max.

In April, he was thrilled to meet famous Irish wrestler Sheamus, and thanks to the generous donations of WWE memorabilia, Cathy said he is “delighted with it all”.

“When he was two, we just dragged him here, he doesn’t even remember the treatment the last time,” she said.

“I think the WWE memorabilia will do him good and really keep his spirits up through the treatment.”

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