Four-year-old Maverick Schwartzenburg is just your average kid. Sword fights with his little brother, cars racing around the room, the Schwartzenburg’s lives are surrounded by laughing, chaos, and most of all fun.
But three years ago on New Year’s Eve, the laughing stopped.
“We thought it was the common bug or the flu,” says Maverick’s father Michael Schwartzenburg. “He wasn’t feeling well and was very lethargic. He was pale at that time. He wasn’t himself, even Christmas morning.”
Just a few hours after going into the hospital with what Maverick’s parents thought was the flu, they were getting into an ambulance and making the six-hour journey to Memphis, Tennessee.
“He basically said, ‘you have three hours to pack your bags and plan on being there for several months,’ ” Michael recalls.
To add to the stress, Stevie and Michael had a younger child at home and Stevie was 32 weeks pregnant with their third. That child, a little girl, would be born while in Memphis while Maverick was receiving treatment at St. Jude.
“Getting the diagnosis was a lot and then I’m pregnant and I have to protect two kids. I didn’t want to go a little crazy because I had someone in me that was relying on me,” says Stevie. “I had two of my three kids that were relying on support and help. It as a lot. We knew we had to get through it and St. Jude as the place that was going to help us do that.”
Over the next two years, Maverick went through treatment. Some days were better than others, but every day was one step closer to becoming cancer free.
“St. Jude has given him his life back,” Stevie says. “These are happy tears. We are in a good place.”
Now at age four, Maverick can finally say that he’s living without cancer. That doesn’t mean that treatment stops. He still has a journey towards full recovery, but he has already begun to live a more normal life.
Every week Maverick makes an “X” on the calendar to mark another day gone until his treatment is complete.
“He understands the timeline. He knows that his blood was sick but that his blood is not sick anymore,” says Michael. “We’re just treating the cells in his blood that can make him sick again. We want him to understand that he’s not sick anymore we’re just treating the hidden blood cells.”
While the Schwartzenburg’s continue to keep a watchful eye on their eldest child, they have caught glimpses of the old Maverick beginning to return. The family says that they will be forever grateful for everyone at St. Jude and Acadiana who continue to show support by helping those who need it most.
To help support the children and their families fighting to beat cancer with the help of St. Jude, visit KATC.com/stjude. There, you can purchase your ticket for the 2019 St. Jude Dream home located in the Sable Palms subdivision in Broussard.
Take a tour of the Dream Home on Saturday, May 11 from 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m and Sunday, May 12 from 12:00 pm to 5:00 pm.