Though Max Strader may be celebrating Thanksgiving from the hospital this year, he and his family have the love and support of a community behind them during this holiday season.

On Halloween night, Strader, a 17-year-old senior at St. James High School, was hit on his motorcycle near Timblerlake Drive and Holmestown Road in the Myrtle Beach area. Due to his injuries sustained in the accident, he had to have the lower part of one of his legs amputated.

Jason Strader, Max's father, said his son has had nine surgeries since the crash. Max Strader and his family are not alone though in this journey as local businesses and the community have stepped in with numerous fundraisers to help the family with medical costs.

“The support has been phenomenal,” Jason Strader said. “It’s been tremendous and it means a lot to Max. People wearing the Strader Strong shirts… there’s just been donations and raffles and just the overwhelming response from our community and outside of our state.”

Max Strader has also received support from around the world. With his brother being in the military, word of Max Strader’s incident has spread across the globe. Jason Strader said his son has received packages from Italy, Germany, Japan and South Korea.

The love and support from the community is something of a reflection of Max Strader. Jason Strader describes his son as a phenomenal young man whose acts include volunteer- or community-based and he loves his family and friends.

“My wife said it best, ‘If there was another kid in his situation, Max would be the first one to jump in line and volunteer to help them in whatever way they could and to know that that’s being shown in return for him,’” Jason Strader said. “It’s just a blessing to see and be a part of.”

Jason Strader said his son’s commitment and passion for community service and helping others comes from the heart, saying he would go out of his way to help others.

“Max has a great heart,” Jason Strader said. “I know stories of him being late getting to my house because he stopped and helped a lady with a flat tire on the side of the road. There’s multiple stories of him driving from his mom’s house to mine or my house to his mother’s and if he sees a motorist in need, he doesn’t think twice about it.”

Despite a life-altering situation, Max Strader has remained positive, his father said.

“His spirits and his outlook are extremely high,” Jason Strader said. “He makes jokes with people in the room. He’s getting around really well, but as far as mentally and psychologically, he’s doing so well. And I really think he’s kind of leading the way for everyone else that’s in the room or who comes to visit him.”

Max Strader is expected to be in the hospital for the next two weeks, according to his father. During that time, he will receive a skin graft and another operation. While he might be in the hospital on Thanksgiving, Jason Strader said they plan on celebrating the holiday in his hospital room that day. However, the feast that Max Strader will have this Thanksgiving will be much different from the traditional Thanksgiving dinner.

“He’s already had a request that his mom bring him a Stromboli,” Jason Strader said with a laugh. “He is not into traditional Thanksgiving food at all.”

Once Max Strader is released from the hospital, his father said he will begin physical therapy and then work his way to being fitted for his final prosthetic. Jason Strader described the last few weeks and the weeks and months ahead as a learning experience.

“We’re learning about this every day,” Jason Strader said. “A lot of times what we know is the next step, not the third next step. And right now, the next step is the skin graph.”

Despite the long journey ahead for Max Strader, he is still keeping his and everyone else’s spirits up and looking forward to new milestones and chapters in his life, like attending the University of Northwestern Ohio in the fall. It's a college that seems to be a perfect fit for the St. James senior.

“It’s a college for high performance engines,” Jason Strader said. “And he still has every intention of going there. He’s very excited about going and diving deeper into his passion.”

A GoFundMe has been set up to help the Strader family with current and future medical expenses. If you’d like to support, visit https://gofund.me/a37070bf. As of Sunday morning, the fundraiser is nearing it’s $25,000 goal, currently sitting at $23,180.

Reach Ian Livingston Brooking at 843-248-6882 for any story ideas or news happening in your area.

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