Giving Smiles & Making Friends

When the unexpected strikes and as a parent the gut-wrenching truth of a situation is told to you there are unlimited possibilities of how you treat the world once you have your feet back under you. For one family, bringing some comfort to another child became a priority. And the foundation for Fighter Maverick Foundation was formed.

Celebration group honoring the donation from the Maverick Foundation to FHW Pediatric Rehabilitation Clinic on September 30, 2022.

Maverick’s journey began on April 26, 2018, at just 21 months old being diagnosed with stage Ill Wilms Tumor, a childhood cancer also known as Nephroblastoma (kidney cancer). When Maverick was admitted to the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital, he did not like his hospital bed. Although, one day his plain hospital bed was transformed into a Mickey Mouse bed! You could see the excitement on his face from seeing those mouse ears and he wanted to play, and he was comfortable. Everyone who was in his room could feel the joy.

Maverick, all smiles!

When Maverick finished treatment, Maverick’s parents, Travis and Jennifer Pepper, wanted to give back in any way they could. They came up with a great idea to provide fun bedding to other children that are in-patient or going through cancer treatments. 

“It makes all the difference in the world to see your child not so afraid, not so confused and not so scared just because of a little bedding. If we can help put a smile on your child’s face one bed at a time, it’s the least we can do,” Jennifer and Travis have said. 

Who’s a superhero now? This recent FHW Pediatric Rehab patient!

They received news of no evidence of disease on November 2, 2018! Maverick’s Comfort Mission is a campaign under the Fighter Maverick Foundation (501c3) umbrella. The mission of the foundation is to provide resources and charitable contributions to minors and their families who are facing a cancer diagnosis or any other life-threatening illness. To date, Maverick’s Comfort Mission has donated over 280 blankets, bed sets and other comfort items to families, clinics, and hospitals. 

Recently, The Maverick Foundation and Pepper family made a stop at the Family Health West Pediatric Rehabilitation clinic in Fruita, Colorado. This clinic takes a family-first approach, designed with a special focus and specific tools to help children meet the demands of development in areas of speech, feeding, physical and occupational therapies, and much more. The Maverick Foundation and Pepper family brought with them toys and games, providing comfort and connecting with kids on-site.

Maverick presenting Tryston with a Minecraft stuffed toy during a recent therapy
session at FHW Pediatric Rehab.

Maverick learned there was a patient in speech therapy, named Tryston. He gathered a stuffed Minecraft creeper toy and went in search of Tryston. The boys immediately became fast friends.

Tryston gives Maverick a hug in exchange for the Minecraft stuffed toy.

“We’ve worked hard to make our clinic a family and kid-friendly environment. However, it remains a clinic and anything we can do to make a child’s experience with us warmer, we will do it. Partnering with the Maverick Foundation not only brought joy to our patients and their families, but to our staff, as well,” John Weirath, Pediatric Rehabilitation Director said. “We are grateful for the partnership and appreciate their heart. Meeting Maverick was an inspiration to us all!”

A FHW Pediatric Rehab patient getting a stuffed animal from
the Maverick Foundation during a recent therapy session.

For more information about the Fighter Maverick Foundation, visit their website at: https://www.fightermaverickfoundation.org/ And, to learn more about the programs and opportunities at the FHW Pediatric Rehabilitation clinic, visit FHW.org

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