Youth in provincial ad campaign for Telemiracle

by Rhonda Cooper

Northwest residents will not only be treated to the musical talents of Holly Westlake of Meadow Lake and Bernadette Wolfe of Ile-a-la Crosse at Telemiracle 36 slated March 3 and 4, but also the inspiring story of seven-year-old Max Lavallee and his family from Meadow Lake.

Max was chosen by the Telemiracle committee after the family applied for help to purchase a van for the family.

Seven-year-old Max Lavallee is one of the faces of Kinsmen Telemiracle 36’s advertising campaign. The family received $10,000 from the Telemiracle fund to purchase a family van that will grow with Max as well as comfortably seat all four children and parents Andrea and Terrence Lavallee.

“We wanted a van that would allow Max to ride in his chair or a seat. We wanted it so it would grow with Max that’s why there is a raised roof because we can just have it altered,” she said. “We don’t know how tall he will be.”

Television spots, newspaper advertisements and billboards throughout the province are turning the laid back Grade 1 boy into a local celebrity. When asked how he liked being a spokesperson he said, “Good.”

Mom Andrea noted Max has enjoyed having his friends see him in the paper.

The family has also been filmed as part of Telemiracle’s vignettes that run just prior to the annual televised event and during the 30-hour telethon in a few weeks on March 3-4.

“They filmed us using the new ramp in the van and going up and down the ramp dad (Terrence) built at the house,” said Andrea.

The family van was purchased in June 2011. The side entry ramp makes Max’s transition into and out of the vehicle easier and it also comfortably accommodates Max and his three siblings.

“Then we bought a slush,” said Max. His was a mixture of watermelon, lime and Rider slush. “I like to mix things together,” he said.

Max’s favourite things to do include swimming, going to the lake and fishing. As the third child in a family of four he doesn’t let his spinal muscular atrophy slow him down. He attends a SMA camp in B.C. every summer and one of his favourite places is Drumheller with all the dinosaurs.

Max is named after a special person – his great grandfather Maxime Lavallee, Terrence’s late grandfather.

“There are a lot of similarities between the two,” said Terrence. “Both are laid back, don’t easily get upset and are full of determination.”

Andrea credits Max’s determination and his courage as the reason behind his ability to do the things he likes to do.

“He has a wonderful life,” she said. “We are so lucky to be his parents. I think he has more determination than his dad and I put together.”

As Telemiracle gets closer, Max’s celebrity will rise. Little sister, two-year-old Vivie, is sure to say “There’s Max” when she sees him on television.

But, in the meantime he is really looking forward to his birthday when he and his best friend go water sliding and to the Monster Trucks show. But those Monster Truck drivers and the world around him need to take note of his t-shirt that says “If you can read this you are in my way” and in the fine print at the bottom finishes with “Seriously, I’m going to need you to move over a little.”

Move over world, Max is on his way.

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