Martina Boström's son Maximiliam is just 4-years-old. He has a rare disease, which sadly costs many children their lives. Due to his treatments, he has become swollen. And just because of this, both mom and son have time and time again endured scornful and judgmental glances. The mom recently had enough. In a Facebook post, she expressed her anger over people's frightening ignorance. She describes some of the terrible reactions they encounter when they go out. Her post has now been shared by thousands showing their support and empathy for a situation no one, whether parent or child, should ever have to experience. Kudos to Martina for shedding light on the experiences she's had. It's by bringing attention to these kinds of behaviors that we can seek to eradicate them!
Here’s her letter:
I present you to Maximiliam, 4, outgoing and always happy. He has a disease that few children have survived with. Part of his harsh treatment includes taking large quantities of drugs. He had a bone marrow transplant in 2012, in order to prevent death. He has been seriously ill following the operation, with several complications. His body is constantly struggling with various diseases he contracted after the transplant. In the picture below you can see a spirited boy that looks pretty happy. Why do you rob him of his joy of living? All of you people out there, please take into account that we all look different. You have no idea what others have gone through in life. You have no right to comment on other people’s appearances at all because you do not know anything about the people you see. You do not know how hard they fought to survive!
Today, I sat at McDonalds with my son and was about to eat, something you usually do, otherwise you don’t survive. A girl came and sat next to Max, she looked at him and started to move closer to her mother as if she were afraid of him. Max looked at her and smiled, she looked away. Her mother kept telling her to eat her food, but she could not take her eyes off him. The girl was just a child, so she does not understand in the same way we adults do that he looks different because of something. But you know what scares me? Well, adults talking loud and clear that one should not let their “fat kids” go to McDonalds, without even thinking for a second that perhaps he is sick? He might have gone through a lot in his life, maybe that’s why he is so swollen? Like, you know, THAT IT’S THE CORTISONE THAT MAKES HIM BLOATED. HE IS NOT FAT!!
I stood in line at the supermarket with Max, who loves to hand items over to the cashier and then get them back to scan. He had a bag of candy in his hand and two ladies standing behind me said loudly and clearly (my goodness, poor child who has such parents that give the baby candy when he is already so fat). I said nothing back but hoped Max hadn’t heard. When we got home, Max asked why he was fat. Should a child of 4 years ask such a question when he has not even gotten fat from food but is swollen due to medication? Wherever we go, people stare, children are afraid of him and adults comment about his appearance. Maximiliam has heard too much now. You adults have spoken so loudly that my child does not want to live anymore, he is not stupid or blind. He understands exactly everything you say and he understands the look in your eyes! He tells me how sorry he is, he uses the words I can’t take it anymore, I can’t do it, and it is thanks to the diseased world we live in.
What you don’t know about others, you have no right to comment on. My son should not have to stay home because you do not understand the gravity of his situation. I should not have to feel like a bad mother who gives him candy on a Saturday because he is bloated. We should not have to stay in because you can’t behave. You destroy his confidence by talking about how he looks and what he should and shouldn’t eat. He is four and is sick, he has already dealt with many difficult things in life that you never even imagine you could. So I ask you now, please! If you have no clue about what others have gone through, don’t loudly share your views on their appearance and what you think is wrong to give someone or not. For you know not how it injures another person who may be struggling to survive and be happy. Do not depress him more, he already doesn’t have it so easy. Please stop looking so strangely at him because he understands everything from your look. He is human just like you. So please stop.”
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