From Hyper-POTS to Blankets: Meet Madison

Imagine that you’re currently 18 years old and you’ve witnessed a life filled with illness. A few years later, you're at the doctor's office and finally receive your diagnoses. Diseases such as Hyperadrenergic postural orthostatic tachycardia syndrome (Hyper-POTS), Mast Cell Activation Syndrome (MCAS), Raynaud’s, and chronic migraines are thriving in your body. You had a ganglioglioma brain tumor while being a young teen at the age of 13, but thankfully it was excised when you were 15 years old.

Although this isn’t your story, it is Madison’s, otherwise known as Madi for her friends and family. To handle the stressors of her health, she makes sure to do two things: “I write a lot, and it's kinda how I deal with all of my emotions. When I'm having a really crappy day with pain, I sit down and make a ton of blankets for KWC—it kinda helps me push past my own pain to help others.”

KWC or Kids with Cattitude is a nonprofit organization based in Dallas, Texas that Madi made during the healing process from her brain surgery: 

“I spent pretty much the next three-and-a-half to four years in and out of the hospital. I had to drop out of normal high school, and I'd say in those three-four years I spent more time in the hospital than at home. I met a ton of kiddos when I was a patient, and there were a couple that really inspired me. I finally decided when I was 15 that I was tired of just smiling at and talking to those kiddos. I wanted to help them, so for my 15th birthday, I did my first ever blanket tying party. From there, my dad helped me grow KWC into an actual nonprofit, and the rest is history.”

When diagnosed, it became difficult for Madi and her family: “I've kinda received comments all over the board; from some really cruel ones to some pretty out of the box ones such as ‘Did you know drinking this detox tea will completely cure you?’” Regardless of the situation at hand, her sister was her biggest supporter. 

Presently, Madi is a university student who is double majoring in neuroscience and journalism. Madi is not 100% sure on the direction she wants to take the organization after both her undergrad and graduate years. In August 2018, she and the organization finally met a milestone by having 1,000 blankets donated. Currently, the number is 1,026 through a post that was made on September 1: “I want to do ABA therapy with autistic kids with my neuroscience degree. On the side, I want to write for a magazine or write books.” 

When closing up the interview, Madi wanted to provide some final thoughts about the diagnosis and some uplifting: “There are low points, but eventually there’s gotta be a bit of sunshine.”

If you want to support, donate, learn, or follow Kids with Cattitude's journey click here!

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