From Surgery to Giving Back, a Tale of Two Sons

“I just love normal, boring days. That is what makes me happy,” Mrs. Maurer said as her boys shot hoops and scrambled for the ball in the family driveway.

She’s grateful her boys can enjoy normal days like this because they each went through such grueling medical hardships. Fourteen-year-old Matthew had brain surgery, and 12-year-old Jack had a tumor removed along with his kidney.

These were difficult experiences, but Children’s Medical Center pulled them through, and their mother keeps stressing the positive.

In April 2007, Jack went to Children’s for a bulge in his stomach and was found to have kidney cancer.

“That was the most scary thing that ever happened to us,” Mrs. Maurer said.

The next day his right kidney and a six-pound tumor were removed in emergency surgery followed by six months of chemotherapy.

A few years after Jack’s surgery, an MRI on his brother Matthew showed that a malformation of Matthew’s cerebellum had it putting too much pressure on his spinal cord.

He was scheduled for daunting procedure: brain surgery, but Mrs. Maurer said she and her husband, Chris, felt assured they were in good hands because of the successful treatment Jack had received.

“Because of our faith in the hospital and in the doctors and nurses we knew we were at the right place, and that gave us a lot of peace,” she said.

Apparently Matthew was at ease too. Before his operation he asked the surgeon if he could make his scar look like the same scar Harry Potter famously has on his forehead.

The family’s confidence was well placed. Corrective surgery took just two hours, and Matthew was released in two days.

Three years later, Jack was diagnosed with chronic kidney disease caused by chemotherapy and losing a kidney at an early age.

Jack is on a special diet and sees a host of Children’s specialists who track his progress. Matthew gets daily shots to boost his growth and is back at Children’s every four months for checkups.

Mrs. Maurer said during their frequent visits to Children’s she can see that her boys notice other patients and realize that some children have much tougher battles to fight.

“I always tell them, ‘You are blessed, and you are healthy, and our job now is to help other kids and other families,’ ” she said.

Jack participates in a Children’s fundraising event every year, and Matthew recently raised $286 for kids with cancer. He gave much of the credit to his mom.

“My mom is just a saint. That’s pretty much it. I couldn’t ask for a better mom. She’s kind, she’s understanding. She’s just an amazing mom,” he said, and he leaned over and gave her a kiss.

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