MONROE, OH (FOX19) – An 11-year-old Monroe girl is marking another item off her bucket list as she continues to fight stage four cancer.
By all accounts, Madison “Maddie” Smallwood is incredibly strong. She’s lived just more than a decade of life, but in that short time, she’s encountered overwhelming obstacles and is fighting fights some adults three times her age never experience.
At only eight-years-old, she learned that she has cancer.
“She was diagnosed with stage four Osteosarcoma, which is a bone cancer,” said Lori Smallwood, Maddie’s mom. “She has undergone major leg surgery, four lung surgeries, and then, she’s done 30 rounds of chemo and 23 rounds of radiation.”
It’s been a rollercoaster of good days and bad days, of ups, and recently, some downs. A tumor that had been removed from Maddie’s body has returned.
“The prognosis that they tell is that right now the tumor is inoperable,” said the girl’s mother.
Maddie and her loved ones have made it clear they will never give up. Every minute, every moment, they’re waiting, hoping and searching for a miracle. However, until their wish comes true, they’re making the most of the time they have, which for Maddie, means making dreams a reality. She and her mother have created a “bucket list” – a list of things she wants to accomplish as soon as possible.
“She got a drivers license. She drove a Corvette,” said the mother. “She’s graduated from sixth-grade recognition. She got to graduate from high school.”
One of the things Maddie has said she wanted to do was go to prom. The Monroe community made that a reality Wednesday night when they hosted “Maddie Smallwood’s Fifth Grade Prom” at the Lodge at Lake Lyndsay in Hamilton. There was food, dessert, a DJ, photographers and even a limo. Nearly everything, including the space itself, was a donation, according to Lori Smallwood.
“The love and the support is beyond me,” she said.
Madison’s classmates from Monroe Elementary, future sixth graders, attended the prom. Four boys even escorted her as her “dates.”
“Seeing the smile on Madison’s face, it’s just amazing,” said Colby Watts, a classmate and one of Madison’s “dates.”
Overall, the kids at the prom said they had a great time, but the bucket list is bittersweet.
“It’s happy, but at the same time, it’s sad, because she’s going through a lot of hard stuff,” said another of her dates Wesley Heintzelman.
Despite the endless emotions, Maddie, her mother, and her loved ones are thankful. They’re thankful for guaranteed memories and guaranteed fun, because for Maddie, tomorrow is not guaranteed.
“Haven’t seen Madison smiling the way she has (tonight) in the last three years like she has with having her prom-posals and actually having this prom,” her mother said.
When it comes to Maddie, who at the end of the night was deemed “Prom Queen,” her last name might be Smallwood, but, her heart, her drive and her determination to survive, is anything but small. Lori Smallwood said the Monroe community has really stepped up for Maddie, and they want to say thank you.
Maddie does have more to check off her bucket list, including a beach vacation and taking photos in her mother’s wedding dress. There is a Facebook page called “Team Madison” that provides updates on Maddie and on her progress.