What started as a kind gesture from 9-year-old Charlie from Ste. Agathe has turned into something incredible that is helping an entire family.
Maddox Just is a 12-year-old boy from Morris, Manitoba, who's faced some tough health conditions in the past few years.
"Maddox is usually a very hyperactive boy but over the past two years we've noticed a decline in his health," says Melony Just, Maddox's mom. "His first seizure, we thought he was having a stroke."
After rushing Maddox to the hospital, the doctors ran tests and found nothing. Three weeks later, Maddox had a Grand-Mal seizure in the bathroom. As he was thrashing, he got cuts and bruises all over his body. This was when the doctors realized he was having continuing seizures.
"The next MRI they booked, they put him to sleep. That's the one where the doctors found out he had a brain tumour."
At the time, Maddox was 10. The medical community doesn't have many answers still as to what is happening in Maddox's brain, which is why this week he is having five straight days of testing at the Children's Hospital in Winnipeg. The doctors are inducing seizures in a controlled setting to hopefully get some answers.
Even though 9-year-old Charlie Berg didn't personally know Maddox, when he heard of his health battles, he told his mom he simply had to do something. Charlie is in grade four and Maddox is in grade six, both attending school in Morris.
"He came to me and asked some questions about Maddox and we went over this situation," says Jennifer Berg, Charlie's mom. "A few days later Charlie came to me and said, 'Mom, I want to sell my pictures and give all the money to Maddox."
Two weeks ago Charlie started taking orders to draw Jets jerseys of any Winnipeg Jets player, past or present, for at least $5. His goal was to raise $500 and as of today, he's raised over $2,000 for the Just family.
"Charlie had the opportunity to meet Maddox two weeks ago for the first time and Maddox came over and said, 'Thank you so much Charlie' and gave him a huge hug."
Charlie's heart to help a fellow student came from a place of grief.
"Charlie just had a friend pass away recently of cancer. When Charlie heard about Maddox, he wanted to help as much as he could."
When asked how she feels about her son's generosity, Jennifer says, "There are no words to express how proud I am of this little boy. To be so selfless towards somebody that at first, he didn't know, and now he's made a lifelong friend with Maddox, it's just an amazing feeling. I know his dad feels the same way."
For people who want a drawing from Charlie to help with Maddox's health concerns, they can email Jennifer at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 204-872-2632. People can also donate directly here.
"It was very touching and heart-warming," says Maddox's mom, Melony, when she found out what Charlie was doing. "Knowing the community is there for us, and for Maddox. When he met Charlie, Maddox couldn't stop hugging him."
Prayers for the Just Family
Melony and her husband Mark are hoping this new round of testing helps clarify things medically and what is happening with Maddox.
"Every time he moves in his sleep, I jump, expecting something," says Melony. "We put an extra bed in our room, but it's difficult for both of us. We set up a baby monitor pointing at him while he plays video games so that we can see him, but he can also have access to other places in the house."
Maddox has been attending school this past year but only made it for five full school days. His condition and the medications he's on make him very tired so he usually attends about a half day of school.
"Pray for healing. Pray for the doctors and nurses, that they make the right decisions. We know this is all in God's hands and all we can do is pray that the doctors can lessen the seizures because that means less meds and a healthier, and happier Maddox. Please pray for his 15-year-old brother who is worried about his little brother."