How the Story of ‘Carson Wentz and the Dutch Destroyer’ Saved Max
By now, all fans of Carson Wentz know the touching story of his connection with Lukas Kusters, AKA, 'the Dutch Destroyer'. When Jerry Shott, father of Max Shott, saw that story, the impact it would have on their family became immeasurable.
On Monday, October 23, 2017, ESPN aired the story of the Dutch Destroyer prior to the Philadelphia Eagles' Monday Night Football game against the Washington Redskins. Longtime Eagles fan, Jerry Shott saw the piece and was immediately struck by it. At the time, Jerry's 4-year old son, Max, had been battling an illness with similar symptoms of what was described in the case of Lukas Kusters, before his diagnosis.
The Shotts acted immediately to seek help for Max. It was on October 30th that Maximus Shott was diagnosed with leukemia.
Max spent most of the next month in the hospital getting treatment that included: five emergency blood transfusions, a platelet transfusion the day he was brought in, two bone marrow tests, 12 spinal taps, and intense chemotherapy treatment.
Wentz would soon learn of Max's situation and sent him a signed ball, as he did for Lukas. Max's ball read: "Max, Best wishes. Keep the faith and God bless!" -- Carson Wentz, AO1
The early detection of Max's illness has helped. Just 30 days after his diagnosis, Max was in remission. The bone marrow that had been lost in his case was significantly less than most. Jerry said of Max's situation:
The doctor said if we wouldn’t have gone when we did, because his hemoglobin count was so low, he probably wouldn’t have made it...He would have went to sleep and never woke up again...If I hadn’t seen that story, he probably wouldn’t be here right now, and that’s the truth.
Max will still receive chemotherapy through January 2021. While he's not completely out of the woods, the odds for a full recovery seem to at least be in his favor. He's recently been cleared to go back to school and is happy to do so.
The Eagles, having learned of Max's story early on, arranged for him and his family to be invited to a training camp practice this past August, along with Lukas Kusters' family, as each family was to be surprised with the other's presence.
After meeting Max's family, Rebecca Burmeff, mother of Lukas Kusters, said, "It just made me feel wonderful to know that Lukas isn't here with us anymore but he is still making an impact, and he's making a big one." Rebecca currently runs the 'Live Like Lukas Foundation', dedicated to helping families battling childhood cancer.
After the training camp practice, Wentz spent some time playing with Max on the field.
Wentz spoke about the experience of meeting Max:
It was cool. Seeing Max on the field was the best part, especially hearing how they said how sick he was and how he was struggling. I’m looking at this kid just running around, it’s 100 degrees out and he’s having the time of his life, doesn’t want to go in, doesn’t want to stop playing catch or kicking the ball, just to know how quick of a turnaround he made and how it really impacted him because they saw the story...And I know for Rebecca, it was emotional but inspiring at the same time, for the whole Kusters family, but it was just cool to kind of see God’s hand in the middle of all of it, because I truly believe he’s working through it. No matter how tough it is, God is doing something through it, and it’s cool to see it firsthand like that.
Wentz will now wear a black bracelet that says "Team Maximus" and features a Batman symbol. It'll be worn on the same wrist as his "Dutch Destroyer" bracelet.