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My Hero Max
Dec 18, 2008
On May 2, 2007, the day before his fourth birthday, our son Max was diagnosed with a rare form of B-Cell Lymphoma in the bone of his right arm. Less than forty cases had been reported to the National Cancer Institute the prior year and Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center (MSKCC), the hospital where Max was to be treated, had never seen a case like his. The very next week, we learned the numbing news that the cancer had mysteriously spread from his right arm to his left knee area, with no signs of the cancer in his blood or marrow. This type of manifestation of the disease had never been seen before.

He quickly started a two year protocol of chemotherapy called New York 2, at MSKCC. They treated him with the same protocol as they would for Leukemia. In the days and weeks that followed, he suffered hair loss, nausea, swelling, joint pain and reduced white blood cell counts. His immune system was weak, making him more susceptible to germs and getting sick. His days of living the life of a normal four year old boy was over, and our lives officially changed forever. His courage and strength goes way beyond his years. He has been and will always be my hero.

As our family struggled to adjust to a new life with cancer, we learned that there was little, if any, research for treating rare pediatric cancers such as B-Cell Lymphoma. Funds are raised and generously given for research to those cancers that impact large segments of the population such as breast, lung and prostate cancer.

With that knowledge, our family created the Max Cure Fund for Pediatric Cancer Research at MSKCC. There are promising developments in genetic research that identify specific cells and their behaviors. This research may produce effective and less toxic drugs that target the specific cell behavior and reduce the need for harsh chemotherapy and its side effects. Think of chemotherapy as a sledgehammer and these new methods, a scalpel.

Our main goal is to raise money to fund a research lab at MSKCC to develop a protocol to treat rare cancers which has been proven to work in other cancers. This lab will not benefit Max. I pray that by the time it is built Max will be in remission, and on his way to living a normal healthy life. It is our hope and intention that this new lab will benefit those children who may develop any type of rare cancer or any other form of Lymphoma in the future. When Max was chosen, I was too. I made one promise every night , as I kneeled down by his bedside. "Give Max the strength to battle this leathal disease, and I will make a difference".

I was never a very religious man, but turned to my faith for comfort while at the same time seeking answers. Although praying gave me relief from my pain, I started writing songs. The songs acted as a form of prayer and therapy for me during some very difficult times. I never thought these words would become anything other than words to help me and only me, overcome life's obstacles. I was wrong.

A family friend by the name of Thomas Nieman, a musician heard the lyrics and asked if he could write the music to my songs. After listening in total amazement to my words come to life with music, I had chills running down my spine. My words that gave me strength and hope through the most difficult time of my life, had come to life.

In June 2008, he and I went to Nashville to see if anyone would want to attach themselves to the project. We were blessed to find Ian Eskelin an award winning inspirational producer who was inspired by our story. I met Ian in June of 2008, and only five months later we have made an album. These are my words spoken by me every day and night repeatedly as I struggled to turn our tragedy into triumph.

The name of the album is called "The Journey." It is a seventeen song musical that tells our story written by me inspired by my child. I came to a cross roads in my life, and found myself a changed man. This change now defines me.

The album will be released on Itunes in January 2009.

Kindest Regards,
David Plotkin

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