Born:September 6th, 2004
Date of Diagnosis: June 10, 2011
Died: April 29, 2012
Max Chartoff aka (Indiana Jones) was always a kind loving child whose mind was years older than his age. He had a wonderful sarcastic and adult-like sense of humor that rarely ever ceased to make others laugh. He was always very social and loved making new friends in any situation you placed him in. Max was known as a “poster child” for people to have children due to his amazing personality and good looks. He also had a tremendous passion for Legos, magic, swimming, and Indiana Jones. Max would spend hours in the water because he felt the water to be a part of who he was. He would dress up like his hero Indiana Jones on nearly any occasion, as well as had all of the Indiana Jones themed legos known to man.
At the age of 6, Max was diagnosed with DIPG and had to endure the toughest battle of his life. His mothers Julie and Irene made sure he wasn’t going to fight this brain tumor alone, thus they surrounded him with people who loved him – his family. Family was very important to Max and this horrific disease brought his entire family closer than ever. In the first grade, Max’s eyes began to cross frequently. His parents took him to see the eye doctor and they immediately sent him to get an MRI. At the age of 6, Max was diagnosed with a tumor in his brain stem. Despite everything going on in Max’s life in first grade, he still went on to win an award for being everyone’s best friend. He never let anything knock him down, always wanted to be strong and happy, and made sure others around him were happy as well.
After Max’s diagnosis, he had to get blood work done so the doctors could better assess the situation. At first, Max hated the idea of having doctors poke him with needles constantly, but over time it just became a part of his life. He became used to all the needles and the blood work, because there was no other choice. Max traveled to doctors all over the world getting tests done and being examined by the best doctors. He even tried immunotherapy in Germany and underwent radiation therapy in the U.S. The radiation therapy went well for reducing the size of the tumor however, Julie and Irene were told the same thing time after time, and it was that Max only had one year to live.
As a team, they both decided it was best to not tell Max and let him enjoy his life for the little time he had left. During that one year and up to one month before Max’s passing, he remained in school like a normal child. He was hanging out with his friends and enjoying his time with family. There was one night, however that showed he knew what was going on. He was very sick and could not get up from his bed to go to the bathroom. So he asked his mother, Julie, for help, and she picked him up. He was a growing boy so he did not weigh as little as he used to as a kid. He saw his mother struggling to take him to the bathroom, and looked her in the eye and said “Mommy, I’m so sorry”. Max always wanted to ensure the well being of others over himself, even when he was too sick to walk.
Max sensed that he would not be alive for much longer after his diagnosis, so he tried to comfort his parents. Max would speak about the future with his parents, talking about when he grows up and goes to college, etc. He did this because he wanted to comfort and help his parents in a time of sadness. He also reassured his parents by telling them that it was okay to have another baby and they should have another baby. He wanted to take care of his mothers because they meant everything to him. He wanted them to know everything is going to be okay in the end.
On April 29, 2012, 11 months after Max’s diagnosis, Max passed away. He was in the comfort of his own home, surrounded by all of his loved ones. Today, his memory lives on through Julie, Irene, and his brother Hugo. Max will always be remembered for his loving personality and ability to make everyone around him happier. Max looked up to Indiana Jones to gain courage during his DIPG journey, however, Indiana Jones should have been looking up to Max.