Kodiak embraces Maddy Sickafoose, young cancer survivor, her family
At the age of 5, Maddy Sickafoose was medevaced from Kodiak to Anchorage in a Coast Guard helicopter after fog closed the airport for several days.
That’s how Maddy’s eight-year battle with Ewing’s Sarcoma began.
The rare bone cancer, which had already spread rapidly, was discovered by chance after Maddy was injured in a trampoline accident.
As soon as doctors realized Maddy had cancer, they wanted treatment to begin immediately at Seattle Children’s Hospital.
The long stays in Seattle for chemotherapy and other care took its toll on family finances, but the community of Kodiak stepped in to help in big and small ways – from paying rent and utilities, to maintaining their home while they were gone – even planting flower beds to welcome them upon their return.
And while Maddy eventually survived the cancer, her arm had to be amputated this March because it never healed from surgery to remove a tumor.
And through it all, the community continued to shower the family with hundreds of random acts of kindness.
This Sunday on Frontiers, we take a look at the spirit of giving in Kodiak – and Maddy herself – one tough teenager, who somehow manages to take on challenges with a wisdom and determination beyond her years.
The program also features an interview with two Alaska Airlines employees — Jodi Harskamp, a pilot who donated a kidney to Jenny Stansel, a flight attendant. For Stansel, the gift of a kidney immediately turned her health around. Before the transplant, Stansel was on dialysis and steadily declining.
This episode of Frontiers, The Alaska Spirit of Giving, will air on two separate Sundays – Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve – Dec. 24 and Dec. 31 at 4:30 and 10:30 p.m. Frontiers will also run in place of KTVA’s 5:00 p.m. news on Christmas Day.
Here’s a preview of this holiday edition of Frontiers, “The Alaskan Spirit of Giving.”
NOTE: Photo is of Madisyn Sickafoose and her two younger brothers Jake and Mikey. Her mom, Jessica Gardner, is also pictured.