Meet Maurice

3-year-old Maurice is the sweetest kid with a heart of gold, and he’s been battling cancer since December 2019.

Maurice’s cancer journey started at the end of 2019 when a bump under his right earlobe became visible and then started growing. He also wasn’t gaining weight or eating much, and his energy was low – his mum told us that “he looked sad, like he wasn’t feeling good”.

They took him into the pediatrician who thought he might just have an ear infection, but his mom, Patricia, knew something wasn’t right, so she took him to the Emergency Room and demanded answers.

And answers she got... scans showed that Maurice had a tumor behind his ear, creeping up towards his temple and into his jaw. A biopsy was ordered which then confirmed his parents’ worst fears.

Maurice had cancer, specifically alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma.‚Äč

Maurice was admitted to hospital on December 10 of last year and started treatment immediately, not leaving until January 1. Restrictions related to COVID-19 meant that only one parent was allowed to be with him at a time, and other visitors were turned away. His mom, Patricia, has been there holding his hand for every scary procedure, every port access and every time he has needed to be put under anesthesia.

“It’s really hard to watch him shaking in pain, or saying that he wants to stop, or even just to watch him not really be able to understand what’s going on,” his mom said.

Since his diagnosis, Maurice has endured 36 x rounds of chemotherapy, 28 x rounds of radiation, had a g-tube put in his stomach and a port in his chest, and spent a total of 176 x days in hospital… WOW.

Today, he continues to receive treatment to kill any remaining cancer cells that can’t be detected.

On top of the intensive treatment itself, Maurice has also endured terrible side effects. He’s had sores in his throat and throughout his GI tract that make eating painful, his eyesight in his left eye has been affected and his left leg drags a little when he tries to walk.

But through it all, he continues to bravely fight this battle. And he’s won many fans in the hospital, with nurses calling him ‘Boss Baby’ after his favorite movie because of his outgoing, chatty nature.

And when he hears other kids on his floor crying, he’ll shout ‘it’s okay!’ from his door to comfort and support them. What an absolute sweetheart.

Maurice’s mom told us that research into better, safer treatments is so vital, because “our children deserve normal childhood experiences… parents should not have to wonder if they will ever get to see their child grow up!”.

That's why she's keen to share her family's story, and speak up for her son. There's so little research on his specific type of cancer and the appropriate treatments, and his next steps are unclear. Maurice's mom wants more for her little boy, and all other kids in this battle.

Because kids like Maurice should be living life, not fighting for it.

We’re going to finish our 2021 Challenge STRONG for Maurice. You ROCK, kiddo!