Maddie – A Miracle, A Hero, An Inspiration

maddie

A Young Girl with Ulcerative Colitis Inspires Us All

I briefly met Maddie last year at Baton Rouge’s Take Steps walk hosted by CCFA. I’ll be honest, I’m not sure if we even spoke to each other. After connecting with her on Instagram, however, I knew right away that Maddie is a very special girl.

maddie

Photo Credit: Caroline Ourso

She’s a beautiful girl with an infectious smile and a passion for raising awareness for ulcerative colitis (UC)–a disease she battles daily. Maddie was diagnosed with UC at age 9.

“I try to hide my pain so nobody knows,” Maddie, 12, tells WAFB in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. Many people living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD) do their best to hide their diseases. IBD, by it’s very nature, is difficult to discuss with people making patients feel extremely isolated.

The Fear

“She wouldn’t leave the house,” her mother, Tammy, tells TheAdvocate.com. Ulcerative colitis kept Maddie from going to school some days. Her father, Brent, explains that she just wasn’t herself, “Fear would set in and she would spend nights sleeping on the floor.”

IBD, which currently has no cure, causes painful inflammation in the digestive tract. This results in damage to the lining of the intestine, scarring, fistulas, bleeding ulcers and more. Many people also experience extra-intestinal manifestations such as eye problems, malnutrition, anemia and joint pain. The most embarrassing part of the diseases are the digestive issues. Patients with ulcerative colitis experience bloody diarrhea and frequent urges to use the restroom. Because poo is taboo, no one talks about the disease. Maddie, however, seeks to break that stigma in a very unique way.

Maddie’s Senstation Dressing

With the help of her father, Maddie began making her own line of salad dressing to help raise funds and awareness for Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis. Maddie’s father told WAFB that they thought it was just a phase saying, “We made nine bottles that sold in four hours.”  Shortly after that, they had 60 more orders lined up for Maddie’s Sensation Dressing! While a portion of the funds from dressing sales go toward IBD awareness, Maddie is also saving money to pay for Culinary School when she gets older.

According to The Advocate, Maddie has sold over 3,000 bottles of dressing since February.

Camp Oasis

Over the summer, Maddie became the recipient of Hand It On. Individuals who are recognized as Hand It On recipients, are people who are making a difference in their communities. Along with the recognition they receive, they’re also awarded $300. When WAFB asked Maddie what she was going to do with the money, she said she was going to use it for summer camp. But not just any summer camp, Maddie went to Camp Oasis. Camp Oasis is sponsored by CCFA for children, like Maddie, who are living with Inflammatory Bowel Disease.

“I’m kind of handling my disease better,” Maddie tells The Advocate. With her current treatment, she’s improving so much that she’s been able to play volleyball at school. Maddie is also walking on a team for the Take Steps Walk in Baton Rouge on Saturday, October 29th.

Take Steps Baton Rouge

Maddie is certainly a special girl and has inspired me personally in so many ways. This year, she has been chosen as the Honored Hero for the Take Steps Baton Rouge walk. To show my support for her advocacy efforts, I’ve decided to join forces with her and help her raise funds for IBD research and programs. Today, we will be walking together on her Take Steps team and showing the world what IBD ninjas are made of.

To learn more about Maddie and her specialty dressings, click here. If you would like to donate to Maddie’s Take Steps team, please visit her team’s page: Maddie’s Miracles.