A Partnership Bound by Mission, Innovation, and History

At The Max Foundation, we believe in the power of individuals to make a difference, especially when it comes to health equity. Over the years, we’ve been privileged to work alongside some amazing people in both the public and private sectors – people who have moved mountains to help patients around the world face cancer with dignity and hope. We also believe in working closely with organizations whose mission and values align with our own.

At first glance, Global Fiberglass Solutions might seem an unlikely partner for The Max Foundation. However, when you look at our shared values – innovation, sustainable solutions, and global citizenship – it makes perfect sense. In fact, our partnership extends beyond just our values.

Global Fiberglass Solutions and The Max Foundation actually shared common leadership at our inceptions. The late Ken Weyant, one of our founding board members, was a visionary who understood the need to close the cancer divide between higher-income and lower-income countries. At the same time, he began a quest to recycle landfill-bound wind turbines into new products for the greater good. Since our respective beginnings, both our organizations have found different answers to the same fundamental question: “How do you take a difficult situation and use it to better the world?”

Our worlds came together again in 2017, thanks to the generous support of Global Fiberglass Solutions co-founder Don Lilly. Don has said, “There are such compelling synergies between our workstreams, in that both organizations are driven to find solutions that will increase health and well-being in our global community. And, with much regret, we lost Ken to cancer a couple of years back, which only underscores our commitment to the cause.”

Both The Max Foundation and Global Fiberglass Solutions see the tremendous value in public-private partnerships and believe social enterprise is the best way to build a better world. As a public nonprofit organization, The Max Foundation’s success depends upon donations from companies like Global Fiberglass Solutions – this strong community support makes our mission possible. We look forward to our continued collaboration with Don and his team and welcome the chance to forge new partnerships with like-minded individuals and organizations along the way.

20 Years – A Letter to Max

Each year on October 19th, Max’s Day, we honor Maximiliano “Max” Rivarola and his legacy of lifesaving support for cancer survivors through the work of The Max Foundation. This year, on Max’s Day at The Max Foundation’s 20th Anniversary Celebration, I wrote a letter to Max, reflecting on what his legacy has meant for patients, advocates, caregivers, and partners around the world. I now wish to share it with all of you, our global community of supporters who do so much to help people face cancer with dignity and hope.

Seattle, October 19th, 2017

Dear 17-year-old Max,

When cancer took you away from us with all your life ahead of you, I felt a deep sorrow that words cannot describe. As time went by and reality set in, the sadness for a life interrupted stayed with me, as I knew that the world was going to miss out; never being able to benefit from what you would become.

I still remember your 17th birthday; we were so happy when the doctor said that you could come home for your birthday. Not strong enough for big crowds, people came in small groups to visit you: friends from school, neighbors, family, friends. And then so many people called you from far away places: Italy, Mexico, Argentina, other cities in the US and I remember you called it the best day of your life. Knowing that people from far away places in the world were sending you their love filled up your spirit and gave you great joy.

Today I must tell you that since that time, Max, that seed of love around the world that you felt on your 17th birthday has grown, and in the past two decades you have achieved more than I could have ever imagined.

Through Maria Isabel in Venezuela, you saved the lives of 176 people. You were relentless and didn’t take no for an answer until your friends were able to access treatment.

And a few years later you brought hope and love to children in pediatric wards all over the world with Maximo and the Big C through our dearest Fan in Malaysia. Max, I have seen the glimmer of hope come back to their eyes when Maximo encourages them to have a mission in life.

Through Sohag you have been working hard in Bangladesh to make sure people eat a nutritious meal of sweet potato. Through Lucy in Solomon Islands you enjoy playing the trombone and taking care of 5 children; through Rosario in Mexico you grant wishes to sick children; through our dear Boukary in Niger you made real change by advocating for access to diagnostics; what a force of nature, your buddy Boukary. Through Tony you continue to bring the gift of song to the world; your spirit shines so brightly through Tony that you inspired his song “You”; and who can forget how you loved to sing! Often these days when I hear your brothers play music, I close my eyes I can still hear you.

And this reminds me of another person whose life you influenced, Max. I borrow from Viji to share this part of your story. I don’t have to tell you who Viji is since through her you have poured love to thousands of people in India for the past 15 years. Viji recently shared with me about a young friend I will call Prab “whose eyes still haven’t lost that naughty gleam”, she said, “that lit up his 14-year old face when he first walked into the Max office with his hospital file more than 15 years ago”. I imagine him walking into the office, same age as you when you also were newly diagnosed and had to start carrying your hospital file as well.

Recently Prab visited the Max office again, a 30-year-old man now, and reminisced about the time of his diagnosis: “neither then nor now, Amma ji, does this Cancer thing frighten me” he said.” I love my job and I am so thankful to my family for encouraging me. I have a complete musical group and we play at all religious functions and community events. I feel a very powerful energy within me when I play the Dholak and see the happiness with which people dance to the beat and rhythm I create.” So you see, Max, that energy that Prab feels when he plays music, that energy is you.

Dear 17-year-old Max, today I can say that you have changed the world more than I could have ever imagined. You live with us and through us and we feel your spirit in every action we take. Day in and day out you light a spark in each of us and I know you care especially for our dear partner physicians who work under the most challenging circumstances and do their best for each and every patient. You are a wonderful reminder of the power of each of us to make a difference, even in the most difficult circumstances. You have tapped deep into people’s humanity and have succeeded in expanding people’s capacity to love and to have compassion for each other. Your name has become a symbol of hope, and I couldn’t be more grateful.

We started The Max Foundation because your departure didn’t feel it was the end; there had to be more, it was just not possible to move on, and I could have never imagined a future without you. And we will continue the work of The Max Foundation for the next 20 years and beyond, for as long and as strong as we possibly can; and forever, for us, every patient will be you and every family member will be us.

Dear 17-year-old Max, thank you for allowing us to continue to work through you and thank you for always being there when we need you.

From the ageless Max who lives through the humanitarian work of everyone in this room and thousands all around the world.

Maximiliano “Max” Rivarola lived with chronic myeloid leukemia (CML) for three years before passing away in 1991 at the age of 17. The Max Foundation was established in his honor in 1997, and his legacy inspires our vision for a world where all people facing cancer live with dignity and hope. This letter was written by The Max Foundation’s CEO and stepmother to Max, Pat on the 20th anniversary of the creation of The Max Foundation.

Make a donation today to give the gift of life to people around the world who are facing a cancer diagnosis. Together, we will continue the work of The Max Foundation for the next 20 years and beyond, in the spirit of Max who lives on through all of us.

Scaling New Heights!

We’re getting ready to climb Mt. Kinabalu in a little less than a month! Over the past several months, we have been training, fundraising, and preparing to conquer Mt. Kinabalu, and now we’re counting down the days until our team meets at the foot of the mountain for the big climb. Why climb a mountain, you might ask? This climb is as literal as it is symbolic, and was inspired by the journey of patient and longtime friend Tony, whose cancer journey began after trying to climb Mt. Kinabalu 10 years ago.

This July, Tony will join our team of climbers, each one fundraising to support The Max Foundation’s work in Malaysia, helping people face their cancer diagnosis with dignity and hope. The funds we raise together will make it possible to offer support and education programs for patients, raise awareness of early diagnosis and treatment access, and to develop and train leaders and advocates, broadening access to treatment and support for people living with cancer.

Support our work in Malaysia – donate to one of our climbers today! The Max Foundation’s CEO, Pat Garcia-Gonzalez, has set an ambitious goal of raising $25,000. Will you help her reach her goal? Donate to her fundraiser.

Take the Chai Five challenge to support cancer survivors in India!

Chai for Cancer USA is back for a third year, and we’re building on the success of last year’s campaign, which established a program in India in partnership with Friends of Max, our local patient support arm, to help patients with one of their greatest needs – diagnostic testing. This was all made possible thanks to our generous supporters and our campaign sponsor, Choice Organic Teas!

This year, we have the opportunity to help more patients in need by raising additional funding for this program, and we need your help ensure people in India who are facing cancer get the lifesaving care they require!

How can you help? Take the Chai Five challenge to raise awareness of the needs of cancer survivors while raising funds for their support! What is “Chai Five”? The Chai Five is a list of five simple actions you can take to support people in India who are facing a cancer diagnosis.

How to take the Chai Five challenge:

  • Step 1: Make a donation today to support cancer survivors in India
  • Step 2: Post a #chaifie (selfie with your cup of chai) on social media
  • Step 3: Share a cup of chai with a friend, and ask them to support Chai for Cancer USA (then of course, take another #chaifie)
  • Step 4: Ask your employer to match your donation – this could double or triple the impact of your gift!
  • Step 5: On May 14th, Chai for Cancer Day, share a post on social media (or email your friends) about why you support Chai for Cancer USA, and challenge them to complete the Chai Five with you

When you take the first action of the Chai Five challenge with a gift to support Chai for Cancer USA, you are giving a cancer patient access to the diagnostic test that monitors their disease, and also helping them gain access to the free, lifesaving treatment they receive through The Max Foundation.

Join us in raising a cup of chai to help those facing cancer in India – donate today to take the first action of the Chai Five challenge!

Gratitude for Our Global Community

During this Thanksgiving holiday in the US, we take time to reflect and give thanks with family and friends. We extend a most heartfelt thank you to our donors, partners, our global team, and community. Each of you is part of our patients’ journey, and we are thankful for your support and friendship. We look forward to continuing our journey together, and hope you will continue to follow our patients’ journeys in the coming year.

We wish you a Happy Thanksgiving and our sincere gratitude this holiday season for your continued support!

Donate and support the patient journey!

Around the World for Max’s Day!

It was an amazing 24 hours! To celebrate Max’s birthday anniversary, we went around the world through Facebook Live to visit each regional office, meet special friends, and learn how each of us contributes to caring and supporting people facing cancer. Never before has our team felt so close and united.

Watch each of the six Facebook Live recordings below to celebrate this brilliant team of advocates!

Live in Singapore

Our dear friend and CML patient, Tony Leo kicked things off on October 19 in Singapore! Tony shared a bit about his journey and experience with cancer. He also gave a special performance of his song, You, dedicated to Max’s legacy through The Max Foundation.

Live from Malaysia: Celebrating Max's Day!

We're traveling around the world with Facebook Live! First up, Tony Leo, a CML patient and musician, shares the story behind the song You and gives a special performance live!

Posted by The Max Foundation on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Live in Thailand

Next we head to Thailand, where our Asia Pacific team members interview a patient who gives back to the MaxSmiles community by cooking large servings of delicious Thai dishes for patients. It’s a testimony of the power of hospitality and kindness.

Live from Thailand: Celebrating Max's Day!

Our Thailand team shares how hospitality and kindness are simple but powerful ways to make a difference in the lives of people facing cancer.

Posted by The Max Foundation on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Live in India

Over in India, our South Asia regional office join in the fun with a wonderful skit showing the patient journey through cancer. Community is key when you’re faced with a cancer diagnosis, and the South Asia team is creating committed networks of patients throughout the region.

Live from India: Celebrating Max's Day

The Max Foundation team in India joins us on Facebook Live to share how people in India are facing cancer with dignity and hope. In the journey of life, no one expects to get cancer – but that doesn't mean the story is over!

Posted by The Max Foundation on Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Live from Kenya

In Kenya, Lucy represents our Africa & Middle East region and is joined by patient advocates who have gone above and beyond their cancer diagnosis in order to help others face cancer with dignity and hope. They also brought out a beautiful cake decorated by a local patient!

Live from Kenya : Celebrating Max's Day!

From our Nairobi, Kenya team, we hear how cancer patients are combating stigma and raising their voices to support and care for everyone facing cancer!

Posted by The Max Foundation on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Live in Argentina

Our Latin America team was represented by Vicky and Melisa in our Buenos Aires office. Together, they shared their love to all in the region and around the world. They also led us through a special mindfulness exercise to focus our attention and energy!

Live from Argentina: Celebrating Max’s Day!

Our Latin America team in Buenos Aires shows how they care for patients in the region by leading us in guided mindfulness. They also share a tour of the office and how they offer support and care to others.

Posted by The Max Foundation on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Live in the USA

Finally, we cap off our very full day with a celebration in our Seattle headquarters. Team members and friends gathered to watch the live streams of the day and Pat took to Facebook Live to reflect on Max’s legacy. We also revealed the winner of this year’s Excellence in Patient Advocacy award – congratulations to Viji Venkatesh, South Asia Region Head!

Live from Seattle: Celebrating Max's Day!

We visit The Max Foundation headquarters to join the celebration with friends and team members! Pat offers her thoughts on the day and reflects on the legacy of Max. She also awards one team member with the Excellence in Patient Advocacy award!

Posted by The Max Foundation on Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Each October 19th, We Remember Max on the Anniversary of His Birthday

Max, today we remember you on the anniversary of your birthday. October 19th is, and forever will be your day, Max’s Day. Today is a day filled with joy, love, and hope; a day we celebrate your life and honor your spirit, still shining bright through so many people in all corners of the world.

It’s all because of you, I can face another day.

This sentiment was shared by our dear friend Tony from Malaysia, a cancer survivor and singer songwriter who wrote a song in our honor which he simply titled, ‘You’. Tony’s lyrics talk about the one who goes before us, and whose journey made our lives today better.

My friends, Tony’s song is a wonderful homage to Max and to those who carry on his memory, and it is also a great reminder of the power each of us has to be that person who faces life’s toughest challenge, not thinking just about themselves but rather thinking of others.

Max has inspired hundreds if not thousands of survivors to live outward facing lives of action in the face of their cancer diagnosis. Together, during the month of October, in 44 different events held in 36 countries they are recreating Max’s legacy over and over again, in perpetuity.

In honor of Max’s Day, we reflect and ask ourselves, “What am I doing to be that ‘you’ in Tony’s song? Where is my opportunity to create an outward facing journey?” Please consider helping others face cancer with dignity and hope by making a charitable gift in Max’s honor.

I am forever grateful to each patient, caregiver, colleague, partner, sponsor, friend and supporter who carries on Max’s memory as a symbol of love and hope.

Yours truly, Pat

Leave your message of gratitude and support in the comments below.

How You Can Celebrate My Birthday and Support People Facing Cancer Around the World

Every year, I celebrate my birthday in a special way – I invite my friends and family to give to The Max Foundation in lieu of gifts to me. I believe in the work we do so deeply, that I can think of no greater way to celebrate my birthday than to donate it to the organization I have committed my life to. This year is no different, and as long as getting one year older was inevitable, I have proudly increased my target to raising a minimum of $5,800; $100 for each year of my life!

The work we do at The Max Foundation can be broken down into three parts: First, we aim to help patients gain access to life-saving treatment. Second, we develop education and support services for patients so they can maximize their lives despite their disease. Finally, we provide a platform for those survivors who decide to become advocates for others and represent the needs of people living with cancer in their community.

The Max Foundation is patient-centric at its core. We believe that every life is worth saving; that access to treatment, care, and support is an investment in the community, and a partnership with each patient. To understand the passion of The Max Foundation’s team, it is important to realize that each of our patients is our best friend; they are part of our family. We have shared our lives with each other for more than 15 years, and we are committed to doing everything in our power to support them.

So today, as my birthday is once again upon me, I ask for your help by making a monetary gift anytime until my birthday, July 28th through my Crowdrise page. Help me surpass my goal of raising $5,800 and show people facing cancer that they are not alone.

And if you are inspired to donate your own birthday, feel free to contact me directly; I will tell you how this simple act turns your birthday upside down and makes your life a thousand times more meaningful.

I thank you from the bottom of my heart,


Donate to my Birthday Fundraiser!

Chai for Cancer USA 2016: On the Road!

In July, we are kicking off the second year of Chai for Cancer USA, a fundraising campaign that expands access to treatment for people facing cancer in India. For 6 weeks, South Asia Region Head Viji Venkatesh will travel across the country to meet with our friends and supporters, bringing together our community in support of one of the greatest needs of cancer patients in India: diagnostic testing.

This is an era of great advances in cancer treatment – diagnostic testing brings newfound hope, but the cost is a barrier for those who cannot afford the tests required to benefit from free, life-saving treatment. At $50 (3,000 Rupees) per test, required 4 times a year, this is an impossible expense for most patients and their families. The funds raised by Chai for Cancer USA will ensure patients receive the right treatment at the right time.

We are delighted and grateful to have volunteers hosting chai addas (tea parties) around the country, in California, Arizona, Missouri, Washington DC, North Carolina, Washington, New Jersey, British Columbia, and Ontario to raise awareness about the needs of cancer patients while raising funds for their support. Our sponsor Choice Organic Teas is providing the delicious tea, and our adda hosts are opening their homes and hearts, sharing our mission with their community.

Whether you are near or far, you can support the cause! Raise a cup of chai at home and donate online to support Chai for Cancer USA, or if you are in the Seattle area, join us for The Max Foundation’s Adda on August 12th!

Pop Quiz! How Well Do You Know Our New Site?

Our new site went live a few weeks back and we celebrated with a great launch party at Max HQ – we had balloons, cake, confetti, and games! For one game, we did a virtual scavenger hunt through our website with two teams hunting down the answers to the questions below. Try your hand at it and see how you do!

  1. The Max Foundation offers support and education opportunities in three ways. What are they?
  2. Who offers their expert perspective on WHY we do our work?
  3. In Asia Pacific, workshops are available in what three countries?
  4. How many treatment access solutions are there in Sierre Leone? (hint: check the map!)
  5. When making a donation, which three men are featured?
  6. Who is the premier Chai for Cancer USA sponsor?
  7. Who is the seventh board member on the Strategic Innovation Advisory Board?

How’d you do? Post your time and share with your friends!

Answers (highlight to view them):
  1. From our “What” page: Support Programs, Patient Workshops, and Capacity-Building Conferences
  2. Dr. Gilberto Lopes
  3. Malaysia, Indonesia, and Thailand
  4. Four
  5. Moshaddek, Ferdinand, and Cristian
  6. Choice Organic Teas
  7. Jerald Radich, MD

Follow the Patient Journey

Join Gershon as he shares his journey from cancer patient to advocate and leader.
See Gershon's Journey