Maddie and her Dad, 1995
When Maddison was born her father was dying of ALS. She helped care for him; feeding, fetching and most importantly making him laugh. When he was voiceless, she made his eyes smile. She also helped with her little brother while bravely managing her own childhood. At age 6 her Dad died.
At age 12 Maddison was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma. She underwent 11 months of chemotherapy, surgery and weeks of daily radiation.
A highlight in the midst of this extremely difficult time - Maddison was given a wish from the Children’s Wish Foundation - anything she wanted. Maddison said no thanks to a Disney cruise for herself, her brother Derek and her mom, Sharon. No thanks to the $5,000 shopping spree. No thanks to the giant plasma screen TV. Maddie wanted to make a wish with meaning, one that would last. Maddison became aware of the plight of children in Africa who lived in severe poverty when she watched TV during her frequent hospital stays. She then decided to use her wish to make a difference and build a school there.
When Maddison was 15, the cancer returned . While undergoing chemotherapy again, a stem cell transplant at Sick Kids, and surgery, Maddie decided on another project. She started buying on eBay and then selling jewelry out of her hospital bed to raise additional money for a well to go with her school in Africa. She did this under the most incredible conditions, her treatment was so harsh she endured 80 days without eating or drinking. Incredibly during this time she worried about others and used her precious energy to help and inspire others. Maddison created “the MAD project” an acronym for making a difference -- and the first letters of her name.
One hundred percent of the profit from the sales of the jewelry will go to Free the Children a not for profit organization of children helping children. Through them Maddie’s wish will become a reality. Devastated with the news that the cancer has returned for the third time, Maddie courageously upped her goal to build a whole village in Africa. Support has been incredible around the world and tens of thousands has now been raised.
Maddie lost her battle with cancer in May 2007, but you can help keep the momentum that her wish inspired to grow.
Maddie began selling jewelry out of her hospital room at Hamilton Health Sciences Children's Hospital at McMaster. Maddie did this while fighting ongoing nausea, with hardly any energy and on constant pain medication to get through. She had not eaten anything for more than two months as the chemotherapy had burned her digestive tract and she couldn't swallow. She was fed by IV and a G-tube in her stomach. When she began selling jewelry, to nurses, friends and others in the community, she created MAD, an acronym for making a difference and the first three letters of her name. MAD has since taken on even more projects, and it's Maddie's hope that through her fundraising efforts, she can raise money for school supplies, teachers, books and more for the school in Africa. The $6,000 for the well is already on its way to Africa.