Born August 2005, Madison Danielle was everything we could have hoped for in a little girl. “Dani” as she was most often called enjoyed being outside from the very beginning. Mt. Rainier and Flathead Lake, Montana were her two favorite places to be. The smile she always wore would light any room and she had a wonderful giggle to go along with it. She loved learning new things and by age two, she was amazing those who knew her by reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
At age three she was starting to read stories to us instead of the other way around. But in June 2009, everything changed when our sweet Dani was diagnosed with a brain tumor called a bilateral thalamic astrocytoma. She had emergency brain surgery to place a shunt which would help to remove cerebral spinal fluid that had been building up behind the tumor. The type of tumor she had was inoperable, so she started her first chemotherapy on July 1. Later in July, she required another surgery to place a second shunt. Her tumor was unresponsive to two different chemotherapy regimens. Her next hope was six weeks of cranial radiation which did stop the growth of the tumor, but only for a few months.
During that time Dani worked with speech, occupational and physical therapists almost daily to relearn everything she had lost as a result of the side effects of the radiation and how her growing tumor had affected her brain. We watched our little girl start to come back and then we watched her fade away again. Her tumor was growing again. Fifteen months from diagnosis, Dani lost her courageous battle. Our family and friends support the Pediatric Brain Tumor Research Fund both as a way to honor and remember Dani. We continue to hope that there will soon be a time when no other child has to go through what she did and that no other family has to lose their child.