The Brownies from Westhampton Beach Girl Scout Troop 3883 are combining their love of looming—a way to make bracelets using colorful rubber bands—with their mission to help others this month.The girls have set out to help Max Wilford, a 6-year-old boy from California best known as “SuperMax,” achieve his lofty dream of creating the largest rainbow loom in the world.
Max was diagnosed with brain cancer when he was 4 years old, and he learned how to loom while recovering from surgery, sometimes even keeping his fingers busy with the craft just hours after a procedure.
To help celebrate his seventh birthday on February 12, his parents, Audra and Justin Wilford, are organizing a Loom-a-Thon Against Cancer in Tustin, California on Saturday, March 1. They hope to not only help Max achieve his goal of making it into the Guinness Book of World Records with the longest loom, but to also raise awareness about pediatric cancer and raise funds for the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Center at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County, which they credit for helping their son not only survive, but thrive.
Though no loom record has been established up until this point, the Wilfords contacted the Guinness Book of World Records and plan to measure their loom after next month’s event.
On the event’s website, www.facebook.com/LoomAgainstCancer, the Wilfords explain that they hope to help every child suffering from cancer have access to those kinds of therapies and alternative treatments. So far, they have raised $400 toward their goal of $15,000.
The girls in Troop 3883 explained this week that they decided to invite their entire school to help SuperMax reach his goal, so they are hosting their own loom-a-thon next Saturday, February 22, from 1:30 to 3:30 p.m., at the Westhampton Free Library in Westhampton Beach, where they will connect all their bracelets and make birthday cards for SuperMax.
After the event, they plan to mail the bracelets to MaxLove Project, P.O. Box 105, Tustin, CA, 92780. Donations and rubber band supplies can be mailed as well.
“I’m so excited because we’re helping this little boy who has cancer,” Alex Garcia, 8, explained on Monday.
Her mother, Kristi Conroy, noted that she became involved in events that raise funds and awareness for pediatric cancer when her close friend, Cindy Campbell, who lives upstate, lost her 5-year-old son, Ty, to cancer in 2012.
“She’s done amazing things in this one year since he’s passed,” Ms. Conroy said, explaining that the Campbell family founded the Ty Louis Campbell Foundation to raise money for research. “She sees a lot of her son in Max.”
Ms. Conroy added that pediatric cancer is the highest disease-related killer of American children, while the National Cancer Institute reports that roughly 11,600 new cases are expected to be diagnosed in 2013 once the books are closed on that year.
“It’s appalling,” she said.
On Monday, eight of the Girl Scouts, all third-graders, gathered in the classroom of their Troop leader, Megan Fay, a second grade teacher at Westhampton Beach Elementary School, to display the long chain of colorful rainbows they had been working on for the past several weeks. Though they hadn’t measured it yet, they guessed it would stretch several dozen feet down the hallway.
Though Max doesn’t have a specific length in mind, as he would be the first to enter the record book, he hopes to make it as long as possible.
“Every little bit counts,” Ms. Conroy explained.
“My favorite part about the project is that we’re helping and that we’re doing something good for others,” Reilly Mahon, 8, another Girl Scout, explained.
Delaney Variale, 9, said she’s really excited to help Max achieve his goal, and Ms. Fay’s daughter, Delaney Fay, 8, added that she thought it was fun to be a part of a project that brought people together from all across the country.
All this month, children across the United States have showed their support for Max by taking photos of their looms and posting them to the event Facebook page, which the Girl Scouts hope to do, as well.
Ms. Fay explained that her girls love to loom and “love to help others, which is what we’re all about in Girl Scouts.”