Patient of the Month - October 2012

Maddie - 11 years old


Maddie was found to suffer from acute myeloid leukemia in December 2010.

Maddie's story:

Maddie loves to play softball. In summer 2010, she competed with her team, the Dixie Darlings, in the World Series Softball Championship. During the tournament, the temperature hovered near 100 degrees. The girls played at least two games a day. “Maddie was going nonstop,” said her mother. “She never complained, she never said she was tired.” Teams from all over the world participated in the event, and Maddie’s team placed third. It was an amazing feat for Maddie and her team.

Then, just five months later, Maddie’s family learned she suffered from acute myeloid leukemia. Her family was devastated. “We were so scared,” said Maddie’s mom. “I kept thinking, no, not my child.” They turned to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for Maddie’s treatment and care.

At St. Jude, Maddie underwent radiation and chemotherapy, followed by a bone marrow transplant using an unrelated donor. To her family’s relief, Maddie’s cancer went into remission. Maddie dreamed of returning to the softball field that summer.

But when routine tests revealed the cancer had returned, Maddie was once again sidelined. Her continuing treatment at St. Jude included chemotherapy and a second bone marrow transplant in September 2011. Her dad served as her donor. Maddie’s cancer went back into remission, where it remains today.

“I think it would have been so much harder for Maddie if she had not been so athletic,” said her mom. “She’s so positive about everything, she’s so strong.”

Maddie now returns to St. Jude for regular checkups. But more importantly, Maddie has also returned to the softball field. Her goals are lofty: She hopes to play collegiate softball. Thanks to St. Jude, Maddie’s family has no doubt she’ll meet her goal. “St. Jude is a wonderful place,” said her mom. “I don’t know where we’d be today without them.”

Posted by Erin Dunlap on October 1, 2012