Meet Madd Dog
Maddux Maple, Age 11, from Dennison, Ohio
Sidekicks: UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Bantamweight Champion, Cody Garbrandt, his Nana Sue, his sister Makyah and the Dennison and Uhrichsville communities
When he’s not busy overcoming obstacles: Maddux plays the guitar and loves listening to all types of music.
Did you know fact: Maddux’s fight with cancer inspired UFC fighter, Cody Garbrandt, to work harder and win a championship title. Cody gave his UFC championship belt to Maddux as a token of appreciation for being an example to live by.
Why Maddux is a #ACHero: Maddux was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia at 5 years old. Instead of starting kindergarten, he began a 3.5 year chemo treatment plan that took courage and determination to get through, inspiring a fighter and a community in the process.
Maddux’s Story: In life, some days stick out more than others – birthdays and the first day of school often top the list. For Maddux Maple, June 15, 2011, is one of those unforgettable dates. At just 5 years old, he was diagnosed with cancer.
After suffering with extreme stomach pain for 2 days, Maddux’s mom brought him to Akron Children’s where doctors ran a host of tests to determine the cause. When his bone marrow test came back positive, hematology-oncology director, Dr. Jeffrey Hord, confirmed Maddux had acute lymphocyctic leukemia.
“The doctors and nurses did a great job explaining what was going to happen,” said Maddux’s mother, Stephani Maple. “Maddux was young enough to be a little scared, but old enough to understand what was going on around him.”
Maddux’s spleen was 10 times larger than normal so treatment started right away. The day after diagnosis, Maddux was fitted with a port to help minimize the weekly ‘pokes’ he’d receive for his chemotherapy treatments.
The first 30 days of treatment were intense and then his treatment schedule changed from weekly to biweekly doses of chemotherapy. Although it was a welcomed change, Maddux had an aggressive form of cancer so he needed to continue treatment for 3.5 years.
“Dr. Hord was a God-send for us,” said Stephani. “Maddux just loved him and his favorite nurse, Amy, helped get him through some pretty tough days.”
During the course of treatment, Maddux’s immune system became weak. He contracted pneumonia and a sinus infection that took weeks to clear up. The chemo caused sores in his mouth and esophagus, making it difficult to eat and swallow. And then came the foot pain.
Nearly 10 months into treatment, Maddux quit walking because of the severe pain in his feet and legs, a common side effect from his medication. He started physical therapy which helped with his mobility.
“Riding the John Deere tractor around the floor and visits from the Doggie Brigade helped cheer him up, but he was ready for a change of pace,” said Stephanie. “We didn’t send him to kindergarten his first year of treatment, but thought going to first grade in the fall would help him mentally and physically.”
But, Maddux found adjusting to first grade challenging.
“Academically he was fine, but he was bullied at school because he couldn’t walk and run like the other boys and he didn’t have any hair,” said Stephani. “He just didn’t understand this side effect.”
As luck would have it, Maddux found a new friend and one that had his back. Cody Garbrandt, an MMA (Mixed Martial Arts) amateur fighter at the time, was living in Maddux’s hometown and heard about his battle with cancer. The two became fast friends.
“About 3 years into treatment, Maddux wanted to give up. He wanted to stop taking his medicine,” said Stephani. “We had him talk to Cody and the two made a promise to each other – neither would give up the fight. Cody said they’d both become champs at the end of the journey.”
Maddux finished his cancer treatments in August 2014. In December 2016, Maddux was by Cody’s side when he won the UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) Bantamweight Championship title. (read this feature story about their special relationship)
“Cody gave Maddux special purpose while Maddux gave Cody motivation to keep on task,” said Stephani. “They each saved each other.”
Now, 3 years into remission, Maddux comes to the Showers Family Center for Childhood Cancer and Blood Disorders every 3 months for a checkup and still suffers with leg and feet pain.
“He just keeps pushing through it…He has no idea the battle that he’s won,” said Stephani.