Meet Madeline: 2020 Family Advocacy Week Champion
Madeline is participating in Speak Now for Kids Family Advocacy Week from August 10-14, 2020. Through this special event, Madeline and her family will share information about her health journey, Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare’s role in providing Madeline with necessary health care services, and why the public and our elected officials must invest in the future of kids like Madeline.
Madeline, 12 years old, was born with spina bifida along with several other congenital abnormalities. “She has seen more surgeries, procedures and clinic visits than most adults, but she doesn’t ever let it dampen her spirit,” says Rachelle, Madeline’s mother.
When Madeline was born, she had surgery on her back to repair a myelomeningocele, an external sac filled with spinal cord and fluids that develops in severe spina bifida. In her infancy, Madeline had casting and surgery to repair her club feet and bilateral hip dysplasia. At 5 years old, she had her spine detethered.
Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare in Saint Paul, Minnesota, has been in the family’s life through Rachelle’s pregnancy, Madeline’s birth and 12 years later, Madeline still sees at least eight specialists on a regular basis.
“I can’t imagine our life without Gillette Children’s Specialty Healthcare,” says Rachelle. “Madeline would not be the person she is today without their expertise and guidance, nor would I be the advocate or mother that I am today without their help.”
Today, Madeline is the happiest and healthiest “sick” kid you will ever meet. She most enjoys hanging out with family and friends and playing games
“She is so much more than spina bifida, she is so much more than a child in a wheelchair, and she is going to change this world,” says Rachelle.