Madelynn is a sweet, friendly five-year-old who loves arts and crafts, Legos, and playing outside. But in summer 2019, Madelynn’s parents, Bridgette and Alex, noticed a worrying change. Madelynn no longer had the energy to do her favorite activities, and her parents had to carry her everywhere—she wouldn’t even walk into a store with her mom to pick out a toy.
After numerous visits to the doctor, Madelynn was diagnosed with acute lymphocytic leukemia (ALL), a type of blood cancer.
“Trolls” and “Frozen” Sing-a-longs Help Madelynn Feel More Like Herself
Their first few days in treatment were overwhelming. There was so much information to take in, doctors and nurses were constantly coming in and out of Madelynn’s room, and the chemo left Madelynn feeling yucky and not at all like her usual self. And then, a JoyRx Music specialist walked into their hospital room—and a glimmer of Madelynn’s cheerful personality returned.
“It was a big, uplifting thing. The musicians would come in and sing a couple of different “Trolls” songs, and you could see her smile and a little bit of her would come out. You could see her again. She was just so flat, and the music really brought out a lot of joy, not only for her, but for us to smile and try to dance, too.” — Bridgette
Listening to the JoyRx musicians sing favorite songs like “Get Back Up Again” from Dreamworks’s “Trolls” movie and “Let it Go” from Disney’s “Frozen” made Madelynn light up with Joy, and those visits gave her parents a chance to take a break when they needed it, knowing their precious daughter was happy and occupied.
A Mentor Brings Joy and Calm to the Hospital Room
Soon, Madelynn gained another friend—her JoyRx Mentor, Kristin. She’d bring a bag of activities to each appointment, and they’d have a blast playing with play-dough and making crafts during weekly visits. They got so close that Madelynn started actually looking forward to appointments, and Kristin helped keep Madelynn calm and distracted during stressful procedures, like getting her port accessed.
Kristin is a seasoned JoyRx Mentor with prior experience mentoring other kids facing pediatric cancer, and her visits were a huge help to Madelynn’s parents as well.
“With such a serious illness, we are given so much information, and it’s hard to process. Knowing Kristin was with Maddy allowed me to really focus on what the doctor was saying.” — Alex and Bridgette
Since COVID, Kristin has continued to be a warm and reassuring presence in the family’s life. She texts Alex and Bridgette often for updates on Madelynn’s treatment, and has visited Madelynn in safe, socially distant ways, like a virtual painting party over Zoom and an outdoor cookie decorating party.
A Bright and Joyful Future
Today, Madelynn is in remission, and her parents are delighted their daughter is back to her sweet and energetic self. While it’s been a difficult year and a half of treatment, Madelynn isn’t focused on the past—she’s too busy finding Joy in the everyday—doing Kindergarten remotely, making arts and crafts, and playing with her new baby sister, Scarlett. And her parents are grateful for her improving health and the people who lifted their spirits during their daughter’s journey.
“It was hard to see her in so much pain and so different from what we had ever experienced. But we’ve been blessed with so many people, and so many support systems, like CCA, who have come together to support us and families like ours. It’s something we’ll never forget.” — Alex
When Madelynn felt her lowest, Joy brought her smile back and helped her “get back up again.” You can help more families like hers access the healing power of Joy by making a donation. And, when you give during the month of April, you could DOUBLE your impact, thanks to a generous matching foundation.