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Sunday July 15th, 2007 was a beautiful sunny day at the lake where we were building our family cottage. Maddy went for a nap and when she woke up her speech was slightly slurred and physically there was something about her that we could not put our finger on. We made the decision to take her to CHEO. What we would learn later was that she had a seizure during her nap.

On the drive back to Ottawa, Maddy’s condition worsened. Upon arrival at CHEO we had just been admitted when Maddy started to seize again. The staff rushed her to the trauma unit where they put her in an induced coma to run tests.

We were helpless – what was happening to our little Maddy? The results of a CT scan followed by an MRI brought our world to an abrupt halt – our beautiful 5 year old had a tumor on her brainstem. It was inoperable and terminal.

Our lives changed forever in that moment. How could this be possible? Had they made a mistake? We were forced into decisions that no parent should ever have to make. Would we like to donate Maddy’s organs? Do we want to put her on life support? Would we like to take her to Roger’s House? We had no idea what Roger’s House was?

We took the short walk from CHEO to view Roger’s House. Instantly the warmth of this facility and its’ incredible staff were a comfort to us, and we knew this is where Maddy would spend the rest of her short life.

Around 3 PM on Tuesday, July 17th, 2007, while the rest of the world continued as normal, we walked with Maddy in our surreal world along with our family and friends through the park, to Roger’s House. We settled in quickly thanks to the caring staff so all we had to do was focus on our little girl. We reassured her it was okay to let go of this world.

Roger’s House supported us through this horrific ordeal and they still do to this day. The bereavement counselling and group therapy was instrumental to us surviving the first stages of what we refer to as “our new life”. We are now a part of a very different family. Our darkest days were to come but we had a safe and special place that we could go and this was vital to our survival.

We wanted to dedicate part of “our new life” to Roger’s House. It was six short weeks after Maddy passed away that “Maddy’s Superheroes” was born! The largest team at that time to register for the Roger’s House Walk, Roll & Run event and we raised close to $26,000 in honour of our Maddy! This achievement made us feel like we had a purpose again and we could do more. A simple idea over a glass of wine - a gala in Maddy’s honour. There was a small and intimate evening on February 1st, 2008 that raised almost $10,000. Feeling rejuvenated we decided this should be an Annual event, so Maddy’s Gala was born, and it continues year after year to exceed the success of the previous year!

Our Angel Maddy gave us wings and we are using them to soar.

We miss you every day Maddy Moo xoxo

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