On June 24th, 2014, our life completely changed. On the 23rd, we watched our beautiful daughter, Madelyn, run around like any other child. On the 24th, we were told by doctors in Eau Claire that our daughter had cancer. They sent us to Marshfield to talk with an oncologist. We quickly threw a few things together and raced to Marshfield. The treatment plan called for surgery, radiation, and 37 long weeks of chemotherapy.
Our brave, strong little warrior rocked those 9 long months and was excited to be done. Unfortunately, on her first post treatment scan, new growth was found and a search for the next treatment option was on. After consulting with a team of doctors at the Children's Hospital of Wisconsin in Milwaukee, the consensus was that another surgery to remove the growth was required followed by a high dose of chemo and stem cell rescue, which took place in August of 2015. After a long recovery process, we had a wonderful stretch where Maddy was able to spend a great deal of time with her family, friends, and even go back to school. Sadly, in August of 2016, this evil disease came back. From there, we were off to the Cleveland Clinic and then out to Washington DC in January of 2017, where over 6 months we tried several trials. Through it all, our little fighter continued to stoically push forward and bravely fight.
Unfortunately on August 15 of 2017, cancer took our beautiful, smart, brave girl.
This is not the end of Maddy's story. One of the many things Maddy made sure of during her fight, was to continue to have the will to live and live life to the absolute fullest every day. Regardless of what was thrown her way, whether it be chemo, radiation, or surgery, Maddy was determined to put a smile on her face and those around her. She loved to give to others during her fight, whether it be a hand drawn picture (she was quite the artist), or an actual gift to others, (in fact two months prior to her passing, she put together goody bags for kids that were newly diagnosed), she always loved seeing the smiles!! That was something she enjoyed doing and we decided that once she was healed we would start an organization in her name.
With Maddy's ingenuity and ideas, the vision for Mighty Maddy's Mission was formed. During Maddy's treatment, she was hospitalized a lot and it meant time away from her sisters. She was sometimes hospitalized on her birthday or their birthdays, so instead of missing out on the birthday festivities she would find or make, banners or pictures and decorate her hospital room for the celebrations. They would always be so excited to walk in her room and see all the effort she did for them. The one thing we found was that the hospital didn't always have the supplies needed for these celebrations, so Mighty Maddy's Mission came to be.
Mighty Maddy's Mission
Spreading Maddy's Smile
Our organization provides a birthday box full of party supplies and a gift for the cancer child or their sibling while they are inpatient. We also provide an end of treatment box with party supplies provided in a box to celebrate that end of treatment, because Madelyn believed that every milestone during this cancer journey should be celebrated!!
We strive to work to find other ways to help families and these beautiful kids affected by cancer while inpatient as well. We have started compiling family resource baskets as well as Maddy’s Toy Shop, a cart filled with new toys for children at Marshfield Hospital to pick from when they are admitted or have a procedure. Over the course of 3+ years in and out of many hospitals, we can understand the difficulties, stress, and pain that families go through. Our goal is to help to provide a smile for the child, their siblings, and hopefully the parents while also helping the caregivers with additional tools and resources for caregivers.