Max Radke, 17, likes to live by the Boy Scout motto "Be Prepared". Nothing, however, could prepare him and his family for the medical emergencies he's powered through since a young age. At age 10, he collapsed from right-sided heart failure and soon found himself on a transport flight with OHSU's Panda team to San Diego to remove blood clots associated with pulmonary hypertension.
He's now a leader in the Boy Scouts, a musician, a big fan of video games and this fall, he'll be a senior at Scappoose High School. "I'm already thinking up the senior prank," Max says.
Through his work with many clubs and groups, he has a good idea of what kids like to do these days. So it's a perfect fit for him to bring his quiet charm and leadership abilities to Merry Heart Children's Camp as a counselor.
Max has first-hand knowledge of what it's like to live with a heart condition and is anxious to share what he's learned with campers. "I want to show them that even with their conditions, there are so many people out there that will go out of their way to help them. No matter how much your condition has changed your life, you will always be able to find a way to conform to a world that, today, has a place for anyone. No matter who they are."
Max answers a few more questions below:
What are a few of your favorite things?
Besides the simple pleasures we all love like food, warm showers, and Netflix, I love playing some of my favorite songs on piano. For about the past year I have also worked toward playing songs on a guitar. Although not a defining fact and center point of my life, playing music puts me in a good mood. Most people prefer a certain genre of music. I care little for genre and simply like to listen to music with power and poem. I will also go to great lengths to get a good laugh out of myself and others.
Are you an outdoorsy person?
I have never left the West Coast of The United States, but I have gone camping all over Oregon and in many parts of Washington. I have not recorded my camp experiences, but I believe that I can safely say that I have done somewhere between 100-200 days camping. That should speak for itself.
Did you have a chance to go to a camp as a kid?
I have been to at least 5 or 6 week long summer camps during my life. I have gained an understanding of the outdoors and the kind of people who like to be there. I have met a large number of people and if I keep it up, I am sure I will meet a great many more.
Do you have a motto, a mantra that you keep in the back of your mind?
Besides mottoes taught to me by the boy scouts like "Be Prepared", I have my own motto "Be thankful for your trials." Problems in our lives are experiences. The more you have, the more you are prepared for the next one. I try my best to put myself in these situations so as to gain experience for my future trials.