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On January 14th 2009, Our beautiful blonde haired, blue eyed STAR was born. We were the proudest parents in the world and as we held Maddie for the first time and starred into those bright blue eyes, we had absolutely no idea how she would truly change our lives and the lives of thousands forever! Maddie fought the bravest of battles for 2 long years and was so strong, so courageous, she NEVER gave up, and she did it all with the most amazing smile on her face! How could any mother and father not be so proud of that?
It was a long hard road after she was first diagnosed with a form of brain cancer known as AT/RT, at the young age of 20 months. She had to undergo a 6-hour brain surgery, in which they were able to remove 90 percent of the tumor. The remaining piece was calcified to her brain stem. She then began a very long cycle of chemo and soon after we had to re-locate to Jacksonville Florida for 6 weeks so she could begin 28 sessions of Proton radiation. Susie and Maddie stayed at the Ronald McDonald house and our son Colin and I would fly up on the weekends as I continued to work back in Miami. She had such a roller coaster of an experience and was even in remission a couple of times. The cancer would end up coming back and she lost the ability to walk, talk, and eventually lost her eyesight. This is why it is so important for foundations like Live Like Bella and their commitment to get us closer to a cure, to advance research, so no more parents have to hear the words, “there is nothing more we can do”.
Even though Maddie is gone from this earth...her spirit, her unconditional love, and her amazing soul will live on forever and she will continue to inspire and fill the hearts of so many! Although Madison was with us for such a short time, she made an enormous impact on everyone, whether they had the honor of knowing her or not! Maddie brought a community together and instilled love, hope and strength in thousands!!
Popularized by American fitness guru David Goggins, the grueling challenge involves running four miles (6.4km), every four hours for 48 hours. I am looking at running 48 miles in 48 hours...I've never run 48 miles in my life! The whole idea of doing this is to push yourself outside of your normal routines and comfort zone, to challenge you mentally and physically, to experience a little bit of sleep deprivation, irritability, soreness and mild suffering.
But more importantly, I am doing this to raise awareness and much need funds for pediatric cancer research and to help support local families that are currently navigating the much more difficult challenge while fighting for their child's life as they battle cancer. I have partnered with the Live Like Bella foundation for many reasons, but most importantly because of the passion they have to finding a cure, and impact they have made and continue to make in so many families lives, and for pushing the envelope in funding much needed pediatric cancer research. Since inception, the Live Like Bella® Foundation has funded $13,000,000 for pediatric cancer research, assisted 4,000 families in 48 states and 24 countries to date, and I know they will not stop fighting until a cure is found! I am so thankful to call them friends and am grateful for all of their support during my daughter Madison's battle with cancer.
The Message from Bella's Family:
As a family, we have experienced first - hand the unbearable pain caused by losing a child to cancer. While we belong to a club that no one wants to be a part of, we continue to raise awareness and offer emotional and financial support to families affected by childhood cancer. Live Like Bella® was founded in 2013 with the mission to help children with cancer maintain the same love for life that Bella had. To “Live Like Bella” means to serve and help others. As Bella’s family we will continue to honor her legacy by serving and helping children with cancer.
I am fundraising to help the Live Like Bella® Foundation continue to assist children battling cancer around the world. You can join the fight and help make a difference by donating to my fundraiser today!
To learn more, please visit www.livelikebella.com
Thank you from the bottom of my HEART!!
Chris, Susie, & Colin Schafer