Little Madelyn was about to turn 2 years old, but neither she nor her family felt like celebrating. She had been suffering from what seemed like a nasty case of the flu. But when her symptoms turned extreme, she was rushed to Primary Children’s Hospital. There, doctors diagnosed bacterial meningitis – an inflammation of the membranes (meninges) surrounding the brain and spinal cord. Bacterial meningitis can be serious. For little Madelyn, it was devastating -- causing kidney failure, hernias, and loss of both her vision and hearing.
Her family watched helplessly as Madelyn also lost the ability to crawl, walk, talk, or even to eat. Four weeks into her hospital stay, Madelyn was stable enough to be transferred to Primary Children’s Neuroscience Trauma Unit (NTU), a specialty unit that fosters learning and growth for children battling significant trauma. Within days, Madelyn began improving. With the expert and compassionate help of her NTU caregivers, Madelyn eventually regained the ability to crawl, walk, talk, and eat, and returned to a normal daytime schedule. She regained her sight and partial hearing, aided by a cochlear implant. She even mustered the courage to go down a slide for the first time -- a thrilling accomplishment!
According to Madelyn’s mom, Jessica, the NTU marked the turning point in her family’s journey from fear to hope. “Instead of sitting in a hospital room waiting, Maddie was able to learn and make progress,” she says. “We were working toward taking her home, and it was exciting.”
Today, Madelyn is home, where she continues to undergo therapy to minimize the side effects of her illness. Madelyn loves to be outside, to pick and eat tomatoes, and to play at the park. She loves people, animals, and snuggling with her soft blankets and stuffed animals. She especially loves to be tickled.
But Madelyn’s journey isn’t yet over. Since she never regained function of her kidneys, she undergoes dialysis nightly and will eventually need a kidney transplant. Madelyn’s family is seeking a live kidney donor. Their goal is for Madelyn to be happy, never feel limited, and fulfill her special purpose in life. They love Primary Children’s Hospital and are grateful to Madelyn’s doctors and therapists for being her biggest cheerleaders.