10-year-old Eagle River girl battling rare ovarian cancer
Maddy Brandl, 10, has one of those personalities perfect for her own imaginary TV show.
“Don’t try this at home kids,” she said while making crafts out of colorful duct tape.
It’s clear Maddy loves to laugh and it’s hard not to laugh along with her. If fact, there was not a minute of our time with Maddy on Friday that she wasn’t smiling.
She smiles even when talking about being diagnosed with childhood ovarian cancer.
“I woke up one morning with stomach pain. Dun Dun Dun,” she said.
Nov. 14 marks one year since doctors discovered a tumor in her left ovary the size of a cantaloupe.
“I try to live a pretty normal life,” she said.
Treatment has been expensive. When Maddy was first diagnosed her family didn’t have insurance. She had to have surgery to remove the tumor, her left ovary and a fallopian tube.
Maddy’s family and doctors thought she was getting better, but in August another tumor was found in her pelvic region.
“Her particular type is extremely rare,” said Maddy’s mother, Jenny Brandl.
Maddy’s form of the disease is so rare she is the only documented case in Alaska, but she certainly isn’t alone. Her mother says between the fundraisers and prayers, the amount of support they’ve received is almost over whelming.
While she goes through chemotherapy, Maddy is being taught at home. Her classmates at Homestead Elementary School in Eagle River are hopeful she’ll return soon.
They’re doing their part to help. This weekend the school is hosting a 5K run to benefit Maddy.
“We’re such a big social and emotional learning school and this is a great example of how to give back,” said second grade teacher Dana Johnson.
The run is just latest in a series of fundraisers to help pay for Maddy’s medical expenses.
The small school of 300 is rallying around one of their own. Students made posters for the run that say things such as “stomp out cancer one step at a time” and “Though she be little she be fierce.”
“We believe that she is strong and courageous and bold. We have no doubt she will beat this,” said teacher Erin Halls.
Back at home, Maddy is preparing for another round of chemotherapy. Still she’s laughing. She says all the love around her is the reason she can’t stop smiling.
But Maddy does have her bad days.
She spends most of her time at home or hospital rooms, but this weekend she plans to participate in her school’s 5K run. Afterwards everyone is invited to Odd Man Rush Brewing. All tips collected on Saturday will be donated to Maddy’s family.
For more information on Maddy’s story, click here.
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