Thursday, March 24, 2011

Mighty Max

The following article is taken from the Des Moines Register March 14, 2011.

“Mighty” Max Low of Neola, Ia., began battling leukemia shortly after he started kindergarten in 2004.

Today he’s a 12-year-old sixth grader, still battling away at Children’s Hospital & Medical Center in Omaha. And he’s probably receiving more get well cards on a daily basis than anybody else on the planet.

“They’re coming, like, 2,000 a day,” said his mom, Bambi, when I caught her during a rare few minutes at home. “Last week we got 5,000 cards. I got a whole trunk full of cards today. … They’re streaming in.”One of Max’s friends had the brainstorm in 2008 Wouldn’t it be cool to get 1 million cards in the mail? Max wholeheartedly agreed.

Word of mouth and social media took it from there. That “Max-a-Million” campaign petered out in early 2009. But a renewed effort began less than a month ago when another friend made a simple post on her Facebook profile page. Momentum has snowballed in the last week, with numerous Facebook groups and events (such as “Make Mighty Max Low’s Wish Come True!!!!!”) contributing to the increasing flood of cards. My Register photojournalist colleague Andrea Melendez noticed all the Facebook chatter over the weekend and sent me a note. All cards are headed for this address:

Mighty Max Low

P.O. Box 111

Neola, IA 51559

That’s why Max’s dad, Greg, found no fewer than 11 keys in his post office box on a recent morning. (All these cards headed for small-town Iowa are the exception to the trend of rural post office closures I wrote about last month.)

Max has endured chemotherapy and other treatments and a “late relapse” through the years. Recent results of chemo had not been promising. Bambi on Feb. 15 was told to enjoy her final days with her son. But now there are signs of hope.

“Last Monday his bone marrow came back with no cancer,” Bambi said. The possibility of a bone-marrow transplant is on the horizon, with Gregory a 90 percent match. Doctors are waiting to see whether Max can manufacture his own white blood cells.

Meanwhile, Max feels pretty good. Which made it all the harder for Bambi even to tell her son that his condition was classified as terminal.

“You’d never know he’s sick” she said. “He’s not eating so hot. … I didn’t want to tell him that he was going to die.”

“But I feel so good, mom – I feel so good,” Max responded.

So the cards stream in as Max and his family wait and see about the transplant. Bambi said that she reads about 300 cards a day before wrapping them all up to take to the hospital.

The Lows try to maintain as normal a schedule as possible, since they’ve been in this cancer fight for years. Bambi still drives a school bus 120 miles each weekday to keep working as long as possible, and she and Greg spend about a combined 18 hours a day at the hospital. The road miles do add up.


Please take a few minutes of your time and send this child a card! Show the love and make his wish come true!



  1. Mindy
    What a story~ I am in tears~ so sad~ Thanks so much for sharing this story~ I am going to do a post sending people to your blog to read this~

  2. Oh what a sad story, prayers for the family and little Max. I am sending a card and posting on Facebook for people to read your blog.

  3. What a touching story! It brings back memories for me. My son, in just a few days , will be 9 yrs post bone marrow transplant. Although he does not have leukemia, he has a rare genetic disorder, but I can totally relate to the bone marrow experience. I am keeping Mighty Max and his family in my thoughts and prayers! And yes, I do believe in MIRACLES!! :)
    Hugs, Trish

  4. Hoping and praying for the best for little Max and hope and strength for his family and will send a card out today. Sounds like he's receiving good care at Children's Hospital. Too many of these situations.

  5. What a precious story. Good reminder to make the most of each day and continue to pray for one another. Thank you.