April 5, 2018 is simply another day on the calendar for most people, but for me, it will always be remembered as a day I want to forget. If a life could stop in its tracks, mine did on that day. It started just like any other day, but ended as no day ever should, with IVs, scans, blood work, and way too many tears. For a year and a half, Madison, my 5-year old daughter, endured more medical procedures than I have in my entire life. She was forced to undergo CT scans, PET scans, ECHOs, hearing tests, finger pricks, port accessing, CBCs, blood cultures, multiple surgeries, and many while being under anesthesia. Not only did she have her right femur removed, but she had a partial lobectomy, two brain surgeries, and more than 15 rounds of radiation to her eye, hip, brain, and arm. She suffered multiple seizures which caused her to temporarily lose her sight and the ability to speak.
On December 21, 2019, I made a promise to Madison. I promised her that I would continue her fight and that it would not end with her last breath. I promised her I would show the world what it meant to “Live Like Madison”, and I intend to keep both of those.
Madison was and continues to be a guiding force in my life. Madison's strong faith in God, her love and empathy for others, selflessness, thoughtfulness and courage influenced my life in many ways. I strive daily to Live Like Madison and am honored to help continue her legacy.
I don’t think that words would give justice to the impression she continues to leave with so many because as my own heart, her family and our community continue to grieve for such an awesome soul there is evidence of her love, generosity, and spirit all around. I am looking forward to what Madison has in store for us as we start this journey with Live Like Madison, Inc and the impact that she will continue to make on this world!
Madison was my birthday twin, and my friend. She was born two months before my son, and watching them grow together those first seven years was so amazing. From the moment Madison was born she brought joy to everyone around her, and she always knew how to get a laugh. Madison's fight was terrifying and hard, but most of all it was awe inspiring. This tiny little spitfire of a girl was facing a daunting battle, and all she wanted to do was help everyone else around her. Knowing Madison meant knowing true bravery and kindness, and losing Madison changed the world entirely. The heartache does not fade, but through Live Like Madison I have been given an opportunity to truly facilitate changes. I am committed to push forward in Madison's honor, to learn from her selflessness, and to try to make a difference.
Whether she knew it or not, Madison made everyone feel joyful, included, and loved. She always made me feel special without even trying, and I will never forget how selfless and strong she was. It is my hope that we can continue Madison's legacy of selflessness and of strength so that one day no child will have to face a cancer diagnosis, and I am going to do everything in my power to live like Madison.
Madison was the youngest daughter of my cousin, Laura. She was spunky, sassy, special and so very loved from the beginning. She went through more in her seven years than most adults I know. She constantly amazed me with her unwavering strength and boundless love for others. She inspired me to want to be a better person. I am dedicated to putting good out into the world in an effort to make it a better place by following her example. Living Like Madison is my promise to continue her legacy of love!
Lessons I’ve learned from Madison: To suck it up and stop complaining about things that didn’t go my way….that’s life. I learned that I need to do a lot less judging of people based on the way they look or what I have heard about them….I needed to love them just like Jesus would. I learned that we can always have a positive attitude no matter what we are going through, that positive attitude was important for others to see. I learned to get out of my selfish ways and put others first….I learned through her life and death that I needed to Live Like Madison and Love Like Jesus.
Little did I know when I met Madison how it would impact my life. She would change my heart. With the onset of Madison’s diagnosis, she became my hero, and she embraced the role of my Wonder Woman. Later I would discover on the back of a Wonder Woman bracelet the three words strength, grace and love. That is exactly what Madison taught me: strength through amazing faith, grace in the midst of tremendous suffering and unconditional, selfless love with no boundaries. There are moments every day I remind myself to ‘Live Like Madison’. And I always will!