Madison Reed turns 6
Thursday, February 6, 2003
By CANDACE PRESTON-COY
The Dixie Chicks may have captivated the fans at this year's Super Bowl with their rendition of the "Star Spangled Banner," but, with the exception of a few patriotic souls, it's doubtful they brought tears to any eyes.
Last week, tears flowed openly down the cheeks of some young men and women, adults too, in the lecture hall at Dublin Coffman High School as they listened to another rendition of the national anthem.
The melody this time came from the lips of a six-year-old who has captured the hearts of young and old alike with her winning smile and determined attitude.
Madison Rose Reed was at Coffman for a birthday party -- hers.
This was the fifth birthday party for Madison sponsored by Coffman's Student Senate. To many, this may seem admirable but not exceptional.
What is exceptional, though, is Madison's continued attendance at the annual event.
She wasn't expected to be around. That's what doctors told her parents, Carl and Annette Reed, when Madison was four months old when they diagnosed her with the most severe and life-threatening form of spinal muscular atrophy known as SMA1.
The life expectancy of a child with SMA1 is two years. The disease destroys nerve cells known as motor neutrons, which control voluntary movements such as crawling, walking, head and neck control and swallowing.
The Reeds -- he is a teacher at Coffman and she is a registered nurse -- refused to accept the doctor's advice to take their second child home and let nature take its course.
They organized round-the-clock care for Madison, with Annette assuming the bulk of it. They formed a "Miracle for Madison" fund to raise money for SMA research at The Ohio State University. Most of all, they refused to give up.
They also turned to Coffman students for help.
In the fall of 1999, the students at Coffman "adopted" Madison, raising money for the fund and planning her second birthday party.
Each year, they don't know if it will be the last.
"The message is still the same," said Carl. "We still dodge bullets" with medical emergencies that could end Madison's life.
Walk into a room and Madison's eyes follow you everywhere. She is mobile now, thanks to a motorized chair the Reeds received after Thanksgiving. With one finger, she can "drive" up a ramp, turn a corner, chase down her older brother Kenny.
She also attends kindergarten at Scottish Corners Elementary when her health -- and the weather -- permits. She has the same teacher Kenny had. She's gone on field trips to the fire station, her classmates pushing her down the sidewalk.
She smiles and jokes, pretty much like a typical six-year-old.
Watching Madison brings tears to the eyes of Senate President Megan Dillard.
"Hers (Madison) is a story of hope," said Dillard. "No matter what life hands you, you can overcome it. It's all about making everyday count."
Madison has lived longer than anyone ever expected, said her dad. Research has come a long way in the past few years, despite a dearth of money to support it.
The federal government is taking notice of the advances researchers have made, he said, and there is a possibility of federal money to continue the research.
"We continue to knock on doors (to raise more money)," he said. The Miracle for Madison Fund has raised over $400,000 since 1999.
So far, no "celebrity" has come forward to promote the efforts, said Carl. "We just have her," he said, pointing to Madison, and the other children around the country with the disease.
The fund's annual major fund-raiser is next month and the "celebrity" of the hometown football team could help bring the foundation closer to the goal of raising a half-million dollars.
"Madison's Angels at the End Zone" fund-raiser is set for March 8 at the Buckeye Hall of Fame Cafe. From 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., families are invited to play games, with a portion of the proceeds going to the fund. There will be entertainment and a silent auction, including autographed photos of OSU players and other sports personalities, gift certificates and sports equipment. Attendees can also have their picture taken with current and former OSU players. There is no admission charge for the day's events.
At 6:30 p.m., the evening event will open with a silent auction, followed by dinner from 7:30-9 and a live auction.
Reservations are required for the evening portion, with patron tickets $75, couples are $140, and a table of 10 is $675. Corporate sponsorships are also available. Call the event hot line at (614) 718-8220 to make reservations. For more information, go to www.miracleformadison.org.
Actual article may be read HERE