“All this has made Madi more empathetic, more sympathetic and stronger."
Despite suffering from Neurofibromatosis Type 1, Scoliosis and a rectal prolapse which has seen her fitted with a temporary colostomy bag, Madi has taken her numerous health challenges in her stride by spending time caring for others. Madi and her mother have been regular faces at Ronald McDonald House Adelaide for 12 years.
“We started using the Ronald McDonald House in 2006 when my other daughter Paige was diagnosed with cancer,” explains Marie. “At the time Madi had her 5th birthday there and she’s just celebrated her 17th at the House. I don’t know where we’d be without it – Madi’s grown up there.”
“It’s great because there are other mums at the House you can talk to,” she says. “Even though they don’t have the same issues as your family, you all just understand what the other person is going through.”
After Paige sadly passed away in June 2010, Marie and Madi’s time at the House continued, as Madi faced her own health issues. “We’ve now officially been at the House more than at home,” says Marie.
Despite the extent of her surgery and ongoing treatment, Madi found the strength to speak to other young girls prior to their own spinal fusions. “The doctor actually got Madi to talk to them because they knew she knew what it was like”, explains Marie.
“Madi loves the younger kids at the House,” says mum, Marie. “She keeps them entertained by playing games and colouring with them – she wants to get into childcare one day.”
In the meantime, Madi keeps her spirits up by looking to the future including an upcoming road trip and all the clothes she can wear when her treatment is finished. Marie believes the experiences Madi has gone through have helped her daughter become a truly amazing and capable young woman.
“All this has made Madi more empathetic, more sympathetic and stronger.”