Maddi’s Story

Maddi's TreeMadison Leslie Holmes was born in May 2000. Maddi, as she was lovingly called, was a beautiful healthy child who loved to run, play, swing, giggle, and sing. Like most 3-year-olds, she brought sunshine into each and every day.

On Thanksgiving Day 2003, Maddi was diagnosed with an incurable and inoperable terminal brain tumor. She was given two, perhaps three, months to live. Not willing to give up hope for her survival, despite the odds, Maddi’s family decided to give her every chance for life by enrolling her in clinical trials at Childrens Hospital Los Angeles.

In September 2004, Maddi and her mother began to make plans to celebrate the anniversary of her diagnosis. Rather than a party for herself, Maddi wanted a party for the other children fighting cancer at CHLA. She had made friends along the way and often expressed concern for the other children. A toy drive began at her home church, Whittier Area Community Church, and hundreds of toys were collected. Many friends and volunteers rallied together selling homemade gourmet cookies and raising funds for Maddi’s party.

On October 16th, 2004, 4-year old Madison passed away after fighting cancer for eleven months. Incredible efforts had been made by a dedicated and caring team of physicians at CHLA, for which her family will always be grateful. Maddi’s journey was truly a testimony to her faith, courage, and spirit.

At Maddi’s memorial service, friends and family members were encouraged to bring toys for the children of CHLA in lieu of flowers. This beautiful offering produced hundreds of toys. These gifts were taken to CHLA on November 24th and given to the patients at the “Reach for the Stars” party that Maddi and her mother had planned. It was an incredible evening for the patients and their families and even included a dinner and special visit from Spiderman!

After learning that some children are discharged from the hospital in their little gowns because they have no clothes to wear, Maddi’s mother felt compelled to help. The following week, she took clothes from Madison’s closet to share with the little ones at CHLA and From Maddi’s Closet was born.