SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — It’s the end of treatment and chemo therapy infusions for Max Blackwell.

For more than three years Max battled acute lymphoblastic leukemia. As of August 31, 2020, he’s cancer free.

“I’m really excited. I just can’t believe I’m already at the end of it. It’s been a long, long journey.”

Max Blackwell
Max Blackwell rings this bell to signify his end of cancer treatment

Max’s fight began in May 2017 when a rash broke out on his feet and legs.

He was immediately flown from his hometown of Fort Smith to Arkansas Children’s Hospital (ACH) in Little Rock.

While at ACH, Max underwent eight months of intensive treatment before he entered remission.

Not long after he entered into his maintenance phase, Arkansas Children’s Northwest (ACNW) in Springdale opened. It’s at ACNW where he has since received a majority his care, much closer to home.

In total, Max’s cancer journey lasted 39 months.

Each hospital visit, appointment, medication and therapy marked by a bead. Strung together, they make up his beads of courage.

“It’s like from one end of our house to the other it’s so long,” Max said.

Max Blackwell’s beads of courage

Dee Blackwell, Max’s mother said, “We entered this journey for whatever reason 39 months ago and I had a 9 year old third grade little boy and now he’s 13, he’s starting the 7th grade, he’s taller than his mom now and so excited that he is. His dad and I couldn’t be more proud of him.”

Max and Dee said it’s the support they received from staff at ACH and ACNW, who helped make a really devastating, scary time in their lives, a little more manageable.