SUMMIT, NJ - Just three months ago, five and a-half year-old Max Gottstein of Summit was diagnosed with treatment-induced acute myeloid leukemia, which develop after years of him battling retinoblastoma, a rare eye cancer.

While the disease has attacked Max's body, it hasn't gotten a toe-hold on his spirit, as the courageous boy is an imaginative, happy, and strong child, but he will need help defeating his foe.

His treatment requires multiple blood transfusions but, to save his life, he will also need a bone marrow transplant using donated bone marrow.

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The community is being asked to -- and can -- help Max and kids facing similar challenges by joining the Bone Marrow Registry and by donating blood.

A drive to do both will be held -- in honor of Max -- July 23, from 10 a.m. - 3 p.m. at the Wilson Primary Center.

The blood drive is being held in conjunction with bone marrow screenings through Be The Match. In addition, Max’s family will collect toy donations for children ages 18 months to 10 years for Child Life, Education and Creative Arts Therapy at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. Toys, including crafts and board games, should be new and unopened.

To make an appointment to donate, call 1-800-RED CROSS or visit redcrossblood.org, sponsor code In Honor of Max.

For those who are unable to make it out to the drive on July 23, Max’s family is also hosting a virtual “Sleeves Up” campaign from July 1-31. Visit redcrossblood.org/sleevesup and search for 'In Honor of Max' to pledge support. Then, schedule an appointment to donate blood at a time and location that is convenient.  

To participate in the Bone Marrow Registry, there is no appointment necessary; and the procedure involves just a quick cheek swab. Individuals must be between the ages of 18 – 44. For more information, call 1-800-MARROW2.

The Wilson Primary Center is located at 14 Beekman Terrace.