This blog post is written by Larry, the father of Maddie, a medulloblastoma patient who survived a brain tumor at the age of 2. Larry inspires us by sharing his daughter’s story.
“Heroism is endurance for one moment more.”George F. Kennan
In the fall of 2008, at the age of two, our daughter Maddie was diagnosed with medulloblastoma, a brain tumor that arises at the base of the brain and often spreads down through the spine via the spinal fluid. Over the course of the next ten months, Maddie underwent multiple brain and spine surgeries and intense chemotherapy protocols at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children. After six cycles of chemo treatment, she had made amazing progress, knocking out 90% of her original disease. Because her scans were not completely cancer-free, she then went through an additional six weeks of radiation therapy.
The effects of radiation on a 3-year-old can be significant, and will alter one’s mental and physical status. As a result, we took Maddie to the UF Health Proton Therapy Institute in Jacksonville, Florida, where they specialize in proton therapy. Proton therapy allows patients to receive higher doses of targeted radiation, which can be more effective, while reducing damage to healthy tissues that surround the tumor. By the end of the six weeks, Maddie was cancer-free!
With the unconditional support of her family, friends, the Nemours staff, and an extra special treatment “team,” led by Mickey Mouse, Cinderella and a few others, Maddie conquered her cancer. Throughout those ten months, Maddie exuded a vibrancy, an innocent bravery, and a resilience that reminds all of us just how much strength lies within the human spirit.
Our family, and Maddie in particular, has been forever changed by this experience and came out on the other side realizing how important it is to celebrate the moments in life that carry us through from one day to the next. Now at the age of 15, Maddie has experienced so many milestones through the years, including her graduation from the eighth grade this year. As Maddie celebrates her rise into high school, and more importantly, twelve years of remission, our cup runs over with the blessings we have received.