Sean Marriott is 7-years-old and the youngest of 3 children of Kelly Marriott and her ex-husband, Chris. Sean, with his brothers, was enjoying the summer on a family vacation at the beach, looking forward to returning to school in September. Today, he is spending his time at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) interacting with doctors rather than with his brothers and friends. Kelly, a single mom, instead of enjoying the time with her children, is facing a parent’s worst nightmare, a child with cancer.
Receiving the news that your child has been diagnosed with cancer is heartbreaking and frightening for any parent, as well as family and friends. Having a healthy child is something many take for granted – until that one day when everything changes.
Like any other 7-year-old boy, Sean is full of energy and knows just how to bring a smile to your face and make you laugh with one of his many witty jokes. He was living a normal life until one day he complained of blurry vision. Kelly and Chris as well as Sean’s pediatrician thought the blurry vision was a side-effect of a medication he recently started… Until the condition got worse.
On July 9, 2018 Sean was sent to the emergency room at CHOP. An MRI showed a brain tumor and panic set in… Sean’s vision continued to deteriorate as pressure and fluid build-up from the tumor altered his optic nerve. In the following days a biopsy was performed – the results were devastating as he was diagnosed with Pineoblastoma, a rare and aggressive brain cancer that typically occurs in children.
A few days later, Sean underwent an eleven-hour surgery to remove the tumor. The surgery apparently went well but due to the invasiveness of the tumor, Sean will need to be treated with chemotherapy and radiation. For the next six months Sean will receive a prolonged treatment of chemotherapy once each month, requiring a one-week inpatient stay each time followed by radiation and possibly proton therapy.
Sean is currently at home in Pennsylvania with his mom, Kelly, recovering from his surgery but is unfortunately faced with yet another struggle, he has lost all of his vision (which the family is told is most probably temporary). On August 3rd, Sean was admitted to CHOP for another brain surgery procedure. The spinal tap confirmed that the cancer did not spread to the spinal column. It, however, did reveal that Sean had elevated levels of fluid on the brain which is being treated. He will begin his chemotherapy and radiology treatments on August 13th.
This diagnosis and treatment protocol in the future months, if not longer, will be unbearably difficult, stressful, scary and overwhelming for Sean’s mom, who has two other young boys to raise and care for.
Chris, although divorced from Kelly, is still in the picture and will presumably do what he can to support the family as they face this overwhelming challenge.
Kelly’s dad, John (“Jack”) Jackson and his wife Wanda, Sean’s grandparents, are also supportive and are doing what they can to help. Jack retired from the U.S. Army in 1989 following a stellar 22 – year career in the armed forces, having served two tours of duty in Vietnam in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s and having received two Bronze Stars for bravery in battle (and other medals over the years). Despite being a seasoned combat veteran, Jack has stated he, with his family, is now facing his greatest battle – to help his grandson overcome the cancer that has infiltrated his 7-year old body.
The financial stress on familys having a child with cancer is overwhelming – even though medical and hospital expenses are generally covered by insurance. Sean’s family is no different. Please show your support and help alleviate some of the financial burden by donating whatever you can (which results in a tax deduction for the amount contributed) to The Max Cure Foundation’s Roar Beyond Barriers program on behalf of Sean and his family.
We set an initial $30,000 goal to cover some of the expenses that follows from this difficult journey – so Kelly can focus on what really matters right now. Healing. You can make a donation here.
The Max Cure Foundation is proud to support our Nation’s military families through the Roar Beyond Barriers Program. Sean comes from a lineage of a proud and distinguished family. His grandfather, Jack, served this country for 22 years and we know the warrior’s spirit will carry Sean through his treatment. But no single service member stands alone, and we need your help to help Sean.
John (“Jack”) Jackson, Sean’s grandfather, has had a varied and illustrious career with the U.S. Army, with 22 years of active duty service and achieving over that 22 year career the ranks of 2nd Lieutenant, 1st Lieutenant, Captain, Major, and finally, Lieutenant Colonel. Jack served two tours of duty in Vietnam seeing substantial combat, first as an infantryman and then as a helicopter pilot. Jack now joins 7-year old Sean in the fiercest and most important battle he ever faced – a battle no grandfather should ever have to experience, especially one who gave so much of himself for this country over the years.
Jack attended the University of Wyoming, graduating in 1967. While at the University, he participated in the Army ROTC program. Following graduation, commissioned as a 2nd Lieutenant, he attended the Infantry Officer School at Fort Benning, Georgia, where he qualified as a Parachutist and Army Ranger. From 1968 to 1969 he served his first tour of duty in Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader with the 173rd Airborne Brigade, returning stateside following that tour for rotary-wing pilot training. He was deployed to Vietnam on a second tour from 1972 to 1973, in the rank of Captain, as a helicopter pilot with the 1st Aviation Brigade. Jack, with respect to his service during the Vietnam War, during which he saw substantial combat fighting the North Vietnamese and Vietcong, earned two Bronze Stars and various other medals (Bronze Stars are awarded to service members who distinguish themselves with heroic or meritorious achievement or service).
After returning from Vietnam in 1973, Jack spent three years with the 82nd Airborne Division, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. While at Fort Bragg, Sean’s mom, Kelly, was born. Jack and his wife Wanda, Sean’s grandmother, with Kelly and later with Sean’s uncle, Jay, experienced with Jack his multifaceted military career leading to his retirement in 1989. After serving the three years at Fort Bragg, during the period 1976 – 1979 he became a recruiting officer at the Army Recruiting Command in Philadelphia, during the time that the Army was becoming an all-volunteer force. After his three year stint in Philadelphia, Jack was transferred to Fort Ord, California, where he served between 1979 and 1981 as the Battalion Executive Officer (second in command) of an Infantry Battalion of the 7th Infantry Division. At this time, Jack had been elevated to the rank of Major.
Following his service in California, Jack was among those selected to attend the Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk, Virginia (early 1982). In late 1982 through 1983, he was deployed to England where he was selected to attend the British Army Staff College with a cadre of other international officers from other NATO countries as part of NATO preparedness training. From 1984 to 1988 Jack served his country in Germany with his family, including Kelly, first as Lieutenant Colonel serving as Deputy Community Commander of the armed forces in the area, and then was assigned to the Warrior Preparation Center (WPC), which is a computerized wargame simulation unit meant to prepare the NATO defense of Europe, and whose motto is “Prepare to Win.”
Jack retired from the Armed Services in 1989, having early-on achieved a Top Secret Security Clearance and thereafter, due to the highly classified work he was performing at the WPC, received the Top Secret Clearance for Sensitive Compartmented Information (SCI).
After his retirement in 1989, Jack returned to the Washington D.C. area, where he currently lives in Northern Virginia, with Wanda, his wife of 48 years. From 1989 to 2012 Jack served as the Vice-President of Administrative and Human Resources for C-SPAN television networks. Kelly, who lives in Yardley, Pennsylvania, a suburb of Philadelphia, gave Jack and Wanda three grandchildren, all boys, ages 12, 10, and 7, the youngest of which is Sean. Sean was diagnosed in July 2018 with a rare form of an aggressive brain cancer striking children known as Pineoblastoma. Sean has already undergone several surgeries at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) to remove the tumor which has resulted, at least currently, in his losing his sight. It is anticipated that as Sean receives his treatment at CHOP for the cancer, he and his family will be fighting the fiercest of battles to defeat this horrific disease. Jack when asked how he and his family were doing, said, “While in Germany, I trained servicemen and women from NATO countries in what was known as the ‘Warrior Preparation Center’ to anticipate what they might endure when defending their countries from foreign enemies and how to accomplish the common goals of NATO. We had a motto, ‘Prepare to Win.’ My family, including Kelly, was part of that experience. With our help, Sean will win this battle and will defeat his cancer, living a long and healthy life. We are ‘Prepared to Win’ and thank all of our friends and family for the support they have given us over this very difficult period.”
The Max Cure Foundation, Inc., a 501 ( c ) ( 3 ) non-profit corporation whose mission includes, among other things, assisting military families who are battling cancer in their children and grandchildren. Please join Max Cure Foundation in helping Jack and his family win the most frightening battle any family can endure – the battle to defeat the cancer striking their children and grandchildren. Sean’s family is “Prepared to Win” this battle and seeks your financial assistance in helping them to do so. You may donate your tax deductible contributions here.