Community Outpouring Of Encouragement For Mt. Olive Teen
By Anastasia Marchese
For someone as outgoing and talkative as Max Kimpland, spending his 16th birthday in a
hospital bed, unable to speak, must have been disappointing. Unfortunately, the severity of his
recent medical conditions have made it impossible for Max to have the big 16th birthday
celebration many of his classmates at Mt. Olive High School look forward to.
Around age three, Max was with Asperger’s, and then in 2004 he was diagnosed with
Neurofibromatosis Type 1 (NF1). Many other diagnoses have followed since 2004. A summary
of his illnesses is found on the recently created “gofundme” page setup to benefit him and his
“He has also been diagnosed with acromegaly (gigantism), precocious puberty, optic tumors,
multiple brain tumors, and scoliosis. He has done four different types of chemo, has had 10
surgeries for ports and shunts, and has been on chemo for more than six of the last 11 years of
his life. He most recently stopped chemo in Feb. 2015 in preparation of spinal fusion
surgery to correct his scoliosis curve.”
The April surgery on Max’s spine seemed to have gone well, but by May 8 he needed to be
hospitalized in Morristown for loss of blood due to esophagitis. His complications worsened and
on May 23 he needed to be transported to the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia where he has
been there since then. Most of the time he has been on a ventilator and has not been able to
speak or eat since April’s surgery. In order to communicate he uses thumbs up or thumbs down,
or writes on a whiteboard notebook, although he has often been too weak for that.
Max spends a lot of his time listening to 80’s music and watching Disney movies and Pixar films.
Recently his eyes have been extremely dry and he needs to have lacrilube put in his eyes,
which makes it difficult to watch movies. So he listens to them instead. Max is a real Disney and
Pixar aficionado. He has spent hours online watching “youtube” videos about the movies and
researching Disney facts.
“He knows a ton of trivia about the Disney movies and Pixar films,” said his father, Bob Kimpland “and had a MakeAWish foundation trip to Disney World a couple of years ago.”
If anyone has a Disney poster up or is wearing Disney or Pixar themed clothing Max will start
talking to them. “He is very open to talking to adults,” Kimpland said. “There is no shyness in him at all.”
That is one way Max has gotten to know so many people, and so many people know him.
His aunt, Amy Rossi, set up a “gofundme” page because of the enormous outpouring of caring
from people whose lives have intersected with Max’s. People would come up to Tracy, Max’s
mother, in the grocery store, asking about Max and wondering how he was doing. People Tracy
didn’t even know, but they knew Max.
“People were always asking me what they could do to help,” commented Rossi. It was this
desire that people had to be able to do something positive for Max and his family, that motivated
her to set up the “gofundme” page. She never expected such a huge outpouring of generosity
though. In less than a month $21,000 has already been raised to help the family with all the
expenses related to Max’s hospitalization in Philadelphia. It has been a huge blessing to the
family to see the support of their neighbors and friends, and the additional outpouring of
generosity from people they don’t even know.
“He’s a real people person,” said his aunt when speaking about Max. “He likes everybody, he is
friends with everybody.” It seems everybody likes Max as well, and his open nature has left a
positive impression on the people he has come in contact with.
One of the surprises of the fundraising page has not only been the amount of money, but the
encouragement of the comments left by the donors.
“Max really enjoys reading the comments,” said Kimpland. Words may be an intangible gift, but often it is the things we can’t touch, that touch us most. The thoughts and encouragement that people write to Max is an amazing way to bring joy into his life.
The fundraising page to benefit Max and his family is https://www.gofundme.com/w3usk5w4.
To follow Max’s journey https://www.caringbridge.org/visit/maxkimpland.