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Dec. 17 proclaimed Officer Max Boatwright Day in Bellaire

December 19, 2018

Young Max Boatwright did so well serving as a Bellaire police officer for a day that the city’s mayor proclaimed Monday, Dec. 17, 2018, to be Officer Max Boatwright Day at the city council meeting that evening.

Max showed up for his shift in November in full uniform, was sworn in, participated in daily roll call with his fellow officers, performed a traffic stop and made lots of friends.

Asked how he was promoted to such a roll, he said through a half smile, “I have no idea.”

At just 7, Max has been undergoing cancer treatments for nearly three years. On Dec. 23, 2015, he was diagnosed with a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis that caused an optic brain tumor. He soon began a year and a half of chemotherapy, which his doctors now believe caused the acute myeloid leukemia that he was diagnosed with in March 2017.

You wouldn’t know it, but Max is legally blind. His mom Elizabeth Boatwright said the condition cannot be repaired. Max does not let it hold him back though.

Before the council meeting, Max walked up and introduced himself as a Bellaire police officer to some Boy Scouts. His joyful, outgoing personality allowed him to approach really anyone in the room and start a conversation.

“He does not meet a stranger,” Boatwright said.

When the nonprofit Stuff the Sleigh approached social workers at Texas Children’s Hospital about finding a patient who had been through a bone marrow replacement — Max has gone through two — that would be willing to serve the fine citizens of Bellaire for a day, they knew just who to call.

“He loved it. He’s told everyone that he meets that he is a cop and he will pull them over or arrest them if he needs to,” Boatwright said. “He actually wants to find Joker and the Penguin. Batman is his favorite, so he wants to arrest Joker and the Penguin because they’re his enemies.”

Today, Max is technically in remission, but his mom said with this aggressive type of leukemia, things could change at any point. She said however that Max is a great patient and nearly always keeps a positive attitude.

“I’m grateful that he typically does great with everything. His personality, we couldn’t have asked for better,” Boatwright said and added that he even enjoys a trip to the emergency room.

She said Max has an incredible ability to connect with people. Recently in an elevator, he struck up a brief conversation with a woman who found them on social media an hour later to tell them how their brief encounter had deeply affected her.

“I feel like he really does touch people, and more people than we would ever know, but he just has that: we don’t have that,” she said motioning to her husband and Max’s dad Trey.

They both agreed that one of the most difficult parts of Max’s treatment has been the family separation it has caused at times. Many nights, she has stayed at the hospital with Max while Trey stayed at home in Montgomery, Texas, with their two daughters, 9 and 11.

“Being gone, they had school, and you know, Mom wasn’t there to do their hair. He did the best he could...it was really hard on them. They did really well — I can’t complain. They adjusted really well,” Boatwright said.

Stuff the Sleigh began in Katy nine years ago to help children experiencing cancer and hematological conditions and their families find some joy during the holidays. It has since expanded to more year-round assistance, including providing back-to-school supplies and paying for gas or parking as families face extended hospital stays.

Stuff the Sleigh Executive Director Nicole Normandin said she was so glad she had found Max and was able to provide him with a fun memory.

“Are you kidding me? He’s perfect,” Normandin said. “He’s everything you could ever want. You know what I mean? He’s the perfect type of kid to experience this, with or without the leukemia.”

To learn more about Stuff the Sleigh or how you can help families like the Boatwrights, visit www.thesleigh.org.

tracy.maness@hcnonline.com

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