Circle of Care Champions
Our 2021 5K Champion
Maddie, a 14-year-old high schooler from Brookfield CT, is a life-long athlete, Yankee fan, and lover of all things sports. But in 2018 a diagnosis of Ewing sarcoma, a rare form of bone cancer, stopped her in her tracks. Despite Maddie's extensive treatment, requiring chemotherapy and surgery to remove parts of her femur to allow regrowth of her bone, her cancer was no match for her strong will and determination to get back in the game. Her treatment ended in 2019, and since then her attitude on life and efforts at rehabilitation have allowed her to regain strength and mobility of her leg, as well as improve her overall endurance. Maddie continues to be a source of inspiration to us all, and we are proud to have her and her family in our Circle.
"Before cancer, I was a normal and happy kid. I was in 7th grade and did all of the normal middle-schooler things: hung out with friends, spent time with family, and the biggest one of all-- sports! All of my life, Iíve been athletic and was always playing a sport. Whether it was soccer, basketball, or softball... it didn't matter! What mattered most was that I was having a great time doing it. I loved every sport I ever played, but my favorite was softball. I was head over heels for it. I lived and breathed it. It took up so much of my time, but I didn't mind at all because I got to see my friends on the team and do what I loved with them, which was to play. I never realized what my life would be like without it because I never thought I would have to. I guess you could say I took it for granted because not being able to play was a life changer. Surprisingly, with all that was to come, softball was my last thought.
During cancer, I was just a kid. No longer normal or happy like I used to be. I was in and out of the hospital so much I felt like I practically lived there. In one moment, I would be nauseous, and in the next, I was throwing up. It was a consistent, vicious cycle that went on for what felt like forever. As I got used to things, though, everything got better. I didn't see my illness as a horrible thing anymore; instead, I saw it as my new life. There was nothing I could do to change what was happening to me, so I tried to make the best out of it. Rather than thinking about what I couldn't do, I started thinking about what I could do. This shift in mindset was what really changed the whole journey for me.
One of the things I was able to do was the Bounce Back to Fitness program hosted by Circle of Care, where I was able to start the process of strengthening my body again. Although I only got the chance to go to four of these sessions due to COVID, they were a game-changer. For the first time, I was able to exercise my body in ways I forgot I could. Along with that, this program was strictly for cancer kids only, so I got to meet some new people going through the same things as me! The time I spent at the Bounce Back Program is something that Iím never going to forget!
This time of my life was rough, but Circle of Care was a big part in getting me through it. To this day, I am still involved with them. They send me presents for special occasions and soon, The Art From The Heart program is going to be redesigning my room! In addition to that, they have selected me to be their 5K Circle of Care Champion, which I’m so honored about! My job is to help motivate and inspire others to participate and fundraise for the 5K and to raise awareness.
After cancer, I was back to being a happy kid; not necessarily a normal one, but a happy one. I finished my last chemotherapy session in September of 2019, and I have had clear scan results since. I am officially in remission! Now, I don't really have to focus on my positive mindset anymore because it comes so naturally! I am a freshman at Brookfield High School and I hope to play softball again!
I will never be able to repay them for all that they’ve done and continue to do for me, but you can! Making even the smallest donation to Circle of Care will help kids like me get through their hard times just a bit more easily. If you can, please donate or fundraise, and if you can’t, spread the word! Once again, thank you so much to Circle of Care for everything you did for me! I can’t wait for the 5K in May and I hope to see you all there!! :)"