Every day I have two choices: mope around and realize how much at war my body really is, or accept the fact on what is going on and keep on shining. I like to choose the second one.
Madeline “Maddy” Justice was 13 years old when she was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia or AML. She immediately started her initial treatments and followed with a bone marrow transplant, but in just a few short months after her transplant, Maddy relapsed.
A cancer like AML is tough to beat; doctors told us there is no protocol of treatment for relapsed AML. But we had to try, and it was agreed that another bone marrow transplant was Maddy’s best chance for survival. We found a research trial and she underwent a second bone marrow transplant.
During Maddy’s fight with cancer, she endured 11 rounds of chemotherapy, radiation, two bone marrow transplants and a multitude of other procedures and painful side effects. Through it all, she remained positive and became an inspiration to countless people.
Despite her struggles, she blessed all who knew her. She reminded us about the importance of the little things in life, taught us about perspective and showed us that no matter what difficulties you face in life, you always have a choice in how you handle it.
Yet, at fifteen, Maddy lost her battle with AML, but her lesson to all of us lives strong: “Every day I have two choices: mope around and realize how much at war my body really is, or accept the fact on what is going on and keep on shining. I like to choose the second one.” — Maddy Justice, Nov 11, 1998-Nov 29, 2013.
Maddy’s battle is over, but we continue to fight for other children with cancer because all kids deserve a life.
After watching Maddy’s fight and experiencing firsthand, the world of pediatric cancer, we created the “Keep On Shining Fund.” In the United States, more children die of cancer than any other disease, even more than AIDS, asthma, cystic fibrosis, congenital anomalies and diabetes combined. Despite this, the National Cancer Institute donates less than 4% of their funds towards pediatric cancer research. Our non-profit Keep On Shining Fund charity has a mission: to raise awareness and money for pediatric cancer research, because AWARENESS brings FUNDS which promotes RESEARCH to hopefully, one day find a CURE…
But our charity doesn’t stop there…while sick, Maddy had a goal: to graduate from Franklin Central High School. She loved school, but due to her compromised immune system, Maddy was unable to attend while she had cancer. She missed being around her friends and peers, but she made the best of it. Even though she remained in isolation during her treatments, she attended “hospital school” and Skyped into some of her classes.
The”Keep On Shining Scholarship” is a tribute to Maddy’s commitment to Franklin Central High School and her dream of graduating. Each year, a deserving student receives the monies necessary to help achieve their dream in Maddy’s name.
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