The Main Ring
Madison's Gift Of A Lifetime
Every once in a while, there are stories that seem to hit home no matter who you are. These stories are real life, real emotion, real heartache, and yet they are such an inspiration. The story of Madison White, a 15-year old girl who loves horses and life is one of those stories. The one that gives you goosebumps and tears.
Madison and her story have become such an inspiration to kids and adults alike. June 17th, 2016 was a day that would change the rest of her life. She had gone to a doctor for a knee injury she thought was a torn tendon but would quickly change into her being immediately taken to the hospital where she would learn she would be in for the fight of her life.
Madison was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a cancer that begins in cells that form the bones and this created a cancerous tumor. If this cancer is not caught early it could spread to the lungs which would lower her survival rate. As the doctor spoke, the words seemed to float around in a haze. They continued to tell her that the treatment would be 20 weeks of aggressive chemo and surgery to remove the tumor. They were hopeful since the cancer was contained to her right fibula and had not spread.
The next few months were filled with doctor appointments and tests. She was able to continue her riding which helped her through the waiting game. Once her surgery was scheduled, another x-ray was taken where they had found another spot on her bone. Not knowing whether or not it was cancerous they decided to remove that part of the tibia to be safe. They warned her she may never walk again. Madison maintained hope that her walking and riding would not be taken away from her.
September 20th, they performed the10 hour surgery to remove the parts of her tibia and fibula where the cancer was located. The surgery went perfect and doctors had sent off the other spot they had found on her bone to get tested. After a few days in the hospital, she was able to go home to heal a little bit before her surgery on October 3rd where they would put a rod in to secure her leg. This would allow her to be able to walk again. After her surgery, she walked around with a walker for a month and then after physical therapy and hard work she was able to walk again.
Her fight wasn’t over yet. She would now undergo 20 weeks of aggressive treatment. The chemo continued to deteriorate her body leaving her mouth and throat too swollen to eat solid food. A port had to be put in so that she could receive nourishment. Her immune system was extremely weak and was unable to fight off everyday viruses. This left her in and out of the hospital.
Maddison was fighting for her life, her body was exhausted, she was mentally exhausted and at her lowest points, one of the things that kept her going was knowing she would be able to ride again. She would be able to feel a horse’s soft velvety nose, feel their warm breath on her cheek, and once again feel the connection of horse rider.
Through South Florida Make A Wish Foundation she was given the opportunity to find a horse of her own. She had tried different horses but one stuck with her. His name was Cos an OTTB that had been shown all over including WEF and Tyron. It was an instant click between this 15-year-old girl and an 8-year-old OTTB, both getting second chances!
A few months later on March 18th, two days after finishing her last round of chemo. Madison was asked to help her trainer at a show at the Plantation Equestrian Center. During a break in the show, she was asked to come to the center of the ring. When Madison entered the ring and approached her friends, family and those from Make-A-Wish foundation she was asked to turn around where Cos was standing behind her. Adorned with a bow on waiting for his new owners to hugs and kisses. She was also presented with a gift card for feed! This amazing surprise couldn’t have come at a better time her birthday was a week away.
Watch for this inspirational pair in the jumper and equitation ring!!!
Maddison is such a lovely young girl, full of life. She shines bright even in the midst of darkness. She is an inspiration for those around her and those who follow her story!
By: Jona Lane