March 9th marks a somber anniversary; the day Max lost his 3 year battle with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML). For those of us who love Max, who either knew him then or who know and love him now, this will always be a day of sorrow. The words that come to mind are words such as ugly, unfair, impossible, and the feeling is one of emptiness; a whole in one’s heart. Max was a real person, a beautiful young child, whose encounter with cancer was nothing but a tragic episode.

Yes, we do so much in his memory; his spirit lives through those who are alive today, and I personally have found a calling I never would have envisioned. But don’t get me wrong; I would give it all up in a heartbeat to have Max back, to have taken away his pain and to see him today.

We do what we do every day because we can, and words cannot describe our gratitude for the opportunity. We have indeed built a magnificent global movement in his honor, and our commitment to access to treatment, care and support, and our vision or dignity and hope in the face of cancer is stronger than ever. But as anyone who has lost a young dear one knows, the hole in the heart remains. We acknowledge it and accept that it will always be there, and we learn to live with it.

And today, we pause to light a candle and say a prayer. I would like to invite you to light a candle today, for Max and for all the friends and loved ones who are no longer with us. Let’s be together through the power of social media by leaving a message in the guestbook, sharing our love for each other and let our togetherness be a reminder that cancer didn’t win. It made us stronger and more determined, for Max and for all those who are no longer with us.

Thank you,
Pat Garcia-Gonzalez