Real Women Doing Real Things: Courtney Collins of Max Love Project

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My new #RWDRT series is off with a bang and this week I chatted with Courtney Collins, Creative Arts Director of Max Love Project, a non-profit organization that empowers families fighting childhood cancers and other life-threatening conditions with quality of care.

Tell us about Max Love Project and the main goals of the organization.

MaxLove Project is inspired by nine-year-old SuperMax Wilford, who was diagnosed with a very uncommon for of brain cancer in 2011. In conjunction with chemotherapy and traditional cancer treatments and therapies, his parents began to develop our BESUPER Plan, which is centered on healing nutrition, sleep, physical activity, stress reduction, positive mindset, supportive community and limiting harmful chemicals. Our founders (Max’s parents) assembled an incredible, diverse group of doctors, researchers, nurses, dietitians, chefs, farmers and parents who are dedicated to changing the odds for childhood cancer survivors by supporting families in seven key areas of health. I would definitely say our goal would be to reach as many families fighting childhood cancers so we can see lots and lots more kids thriving like SuperMax is! Our organization is based in Orange County and we serve many families who are patients of Children’s Hospital of Orange County and Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. We are currently in the process of raising funds for a wellness center and teaching kitchen that these families will have access to, which is going to amazing! But our program is national – we send our MaxLove Project BESUPER Thrive KIts all over the country, so of course our long term goals would be to have the our programming and support at every children’s hospital!

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What does your role as Creative Arts Director look like?

We support each action point of our wellness program with complimentary medicine and therapies like yoga, acupuncture and therapeutic arts, which I am so fortunate to lead. I oversee all the creative activities our families have access to, such as our BESUPER Thrive parties for patients at Children’s Hospital Of Orange County, our Fierce Foods Academies, fundraisers, special events and one-on-one art time with Super Kids. I also sit on the MaxLove Executive Board so I work hand-in-hand with our Art Director on any illustrations or creative elements we design to help implement out mission and programming.

How can someone with limited time get involved and help?

Share and participate! Social media REALLY matters.

What are some of the bigger ways to get involved?

We just wrapped up our big event for the year – our MaxLove Project Farm To Fork Dinner, where our chefs treated guests to incredible farm fresh food and an amazing community experience. We would love to see more people hosting their own MaxLove Project Farm to Fork Dinners in their towns: back yards, front yards, local restaurants, parks! We are excited to see the movement grow from town to town and across the nation. That’s our hope for a Thrive Revolution! And of course, we always appreciate growing the MaxLove volunteer and support teams. There are all kinds of ways to get involved!

What inspired you to work with Max Love?

As a freelance Creative Director and illustrator (specializing in children’s art) I always knew that my “gifts” or talents were meant to be shared, and I think I always knew they would lead me to working with kids who were battling illness. About five years ago, I was designing lots of kids events and art activities for corporate and private clients and I wasn’t completely fulfilled. So I began offering my services to different non-profits that benefited children’s health and wellness for about two years, until I met Audra and Justin (MaxLove Founders), who were looking to bring someone into the MaxLove Family with my skill set. It was the best decision I have made in my life so far! Nothing beats the feeling I get from creating art with our SuperKids or spending time with their parents in our support group and community. All that love fuels my creativity and I never think of it is “volunteer work”, because it’s never work.

What are your big goals for Max Love in 2017?

I want to spend more time with our SuperKids, host more art parties and develop an amazing arts and crafts kit that is accessible to all SuperKids across the country!

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What’s the best comment or feedback you’ve ever received from a family that you’ve helped?

I don’t know if I could even pick. I was illustrating portraits at our fundraiser last weekend and a parent of a child I have created art with many, many times came up behind me and just hugged me. She said the creative light I share to our families was incredible. But she got that all wrong because I just absorb whatever magic I can from all of THEM!

What was the project you’ve worked on for Max Love that meant the most to you?

Well, our team just wrapped up our MaxLove Project Super Duper Kids Thrive Guide, which is a handbook, coloring book, activity book and guide designed to help families creatively and therapeutically construct their own healing narratives. The awesome Honest Company graciously sponsored this project and I had the pleasure illustrating the book, which we are so excited to share! I hope kids have as much fun using it as I did drawing it!

Photos by Tanya Alexis

2 Comments

  1. rakesh arya says:

    Great Job…….God bless u all

  2. Annie Walters says:

    Wonderful!! Keep up the great work!