Loom-a-thon against cancer led by “SuperMax”

Photo courtesy of Maggie Villegas

During the Jimmy Kimmel show, SuperMax, Maggie Villegas, Robin Chillingworth and Kathi Denny met with Ellen DeGeneres.
Photo courtesy of Maggie Villegas

Seven-year-old Max Wilford is leading a Loom-A-Thon to set the Guinness world record for longest loom chain on Saturday at the Clifton C. Miller Community Center, 300 Centennial Way, Tustin from 3-5:30 p.m.

Although starting as a seemingly small event, having limited room, it has grown with appearance on social media, Jimmy Kimmel and news stations.

“It’s sold out and I think people are going to come anyways,” Max’s teacher Robin Chillingworth said. “It’s so amazing the power of social media.”

“SuperMax,” as named by his parents Justin Wilford, 37, and Saddleback College Student Development Director Audra DiPadova Wilford, 36, hopes to use all money gained at this event to assist the Complementary and Alternative Medicine Center at the Children’s Hospital of Orange County.

To publicize this event, Tustin Unified School District’s Arroyo Elementary sent in numerous letters from all fifth graders and a video from Kathi Denny’s fourth grade class to Jimmy Kimmel. With this outreach, Max appeared on the show with assistance from Arroyo’s principal Maggie Villegas.   Loom-A-Thon

“The whole idea behind the video was making it fun. I feel like if they had to write something else, they’d be like, ‘eh,’ and there wouldn’t be a passion behind it… I think the video taping of it you could really see the love the kids have for Max,” Denny said. “I had no idea that it would be as heart-grabbing as it ended up being. It kind of became more than I ever thought it would.”

According to Chillingworth, the students will be bringing in their looms tomorrow to begin the project during school on the rainy day.

Max was diagnosed with a brain glioma at the age of four and has undergone six surgeries, his seventh taking place the day after the Loom-A-Thon.

“His mom was telling me last night about some of the cancer patients that are at other schools that get kind of bullied because their head is shaved or they have the surgical stuff going on,” Denny said. “I think the difference in Arroyo is that’s not happening. Everybody approaches his diagnosis and his surgeries and his bald head, his cute bald head, with love. And that actually comes from the top down. I think Maggie Villegas expects that and exudes that herself and I think everyone follows in line.”