CHICAGO — This is a story of two boys — a generation apart — brought together by a wish and a day on a boat.
Seven-year-old Maxime was diagnosed with a stage four brain tumor in 2018.
He underwent surgery to have it treated, yet the tumor came back years later.
“He’s been on chemo for basically the last year and a half,” said Jenny Dias Da Costa, Maxime’s mom. “But now its outpatient chemo so he’s able to provide a good quality of life, go to school.”
Dias Da Costa said he is finally able to make friends for the first time in his life.
His dream was to enjoy a yacht ride with those very friends.
Captain Chuck and Rita Anderson from the Chicago Yacht Club Foundation were more than happy to help Maxime’s dream come true.
“Our passion is obviously boating and we love to share that with people,” Chuck said.
Kathleen Kasey, from Bear Necessities Pediatric Cancer Foundation, knows what it’s like to watch a child fight through tough times.
She was inspired by her own son, Barrett — affectionately nicknamed ‘Bear’ — who she lost more than 30 years ago when he was diagnosed with cancer at three and died when he was eight.
“He wanted to help others,” Kasey said. “He wanted things for kids like [him] and so we started Bear Necessities.”
Over the years, the foundation has granted more than 4000 experiences that they like to call ‘Bear hugs.’
“I couldn’t have asked for anything more to get that call, ‘what does Max want for his bear hug?’” Dias Da Costa said.
Jenny was overwhelmed with joy to see her son enjoy his time with his friends out on the water, and feeling good while doing it.
“I think there’s nothing more valuable to a mom of a kid that’s going through cancer treatments — to be able to see them smile,” Dias Da Costa said.