Tuesday, November 8, 2011

GoMad and Make a Difference!

Hillary wrote this story with the intention of it being printed in the paper, hasn't made it there yet, but could very soon.

What comes to mind when you think of your childhood? Perhaps you think of summer days riding bikes around the neighborhood, or playing superheroes in the backyard. Maybe you were the kid who had the coolest action figures and race cars, or maybe you were the one with the best dress ups and biggest doll collection.
Now imagine a childhood where all that is taken away from you by illness. Imagine a childhood filled with doctor visits instead of bike races, medicine instead of dress ups. Instead of jumping out of bed with the sun to go play with friends you’re lucky if you feel good enough to just sit up in bed. Such a childhood is really no childhood at all, but unfortunately for many children it is their reality.
Life threatening illnesses, such as cancer, heart and organ malfunctions, and sickle cell diseases, are not confined to adults. According to the Jeff Gordon Children’s Foundation, there are 13,500 children in the United States diagnosed with cancer every year. Of these 13,500 children, 1 in every 5 will die from the disease.
There are, however, many organizations who are working to help these children find hope and regain their childhood, one such organization is the Make-A-Wish Foundation. Make-A-Wish is a nonprofit organization that, through the work of its 25,000 volunteers, helps brighten the lives of 213,443 children every 40 minutes. They grant wishes ranging from princess tea parties and meeting celebrities to trips to Disneyland. Their mission is to “grant the wishes of children with life-threatening medical conditions to enrich the human experience with hope, strength and joy.” It is a mission that has touched the lives of countless individuals, and one that they hope to continue.
On behalf of Make-A-Wish, Davis High School’s DECA club is holding a unique fundraising opportunity on November 11, 2011 at 11:11 a.m. in order to raise money to continue granting these life changing wishes. All you have to do is text the words GoMad to 50555 and they will charge an extra $5 to your cell phone bill that will go to the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
Some may wonder why the words GoMad were chosen. The reason is because of a 15 year old cancer patient, named Madey. Madey was an active, athletic girl who participated in both softball and basketball. She loved to sing in her school show choir and played the guitar in her free time at home. She was a hard worker, a person who made a difference through her kindness to others. And she is my sister. In January 2010 her days on the court were cut short with the diagnosis of a type of bone cancer in her hip called Ewings Sarcoma. Madey’s life was no longer the life of a normal ninth grader, but the life of a cancer patient.
Her days became filled with doctor visits and chemo treatments. Her hair fell out and she lost her appetite. However, through it all Madey’s attitude remained positive as she continued to fight for her life.
A short time after her diagnosis Madey was granted a wish by the Make-A-Wish Foundation. She wished for a trip to Florida to visit the various theme parks with her family. Her dream was to swim with dolphins. In order for her to go, a fundraiser was held by Davis High School’s DECA club. On November 11, 2010 the fundraiser, titled Memories For Madey, brought together three rival high schools who were able to raise over $3,500 within a few minutes. Because of a digital fundraiser that was opened before November 11, over $10,000 was raised on Madey’s behalf for the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
However, Madey’s health took a turn for the worse. She passed away in January 2011, leaving behind her a legacy of friendship and courage that would continue to touch the lives of those who knew her.
In memory of Madey, my sister who made a difference, Davis High School’s DECA has titled this year’s fundraiser, GoMad. The money donated will go to help give hope and a bit of fun to children fighting life threatening illnesses around the world through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. A childhood governed by illness is a bleak one, but with your help that childhood can become more happy and more hopeful. This November 11 go make a difference, GoMad!
For more information about GoMad and how else you can help, check out their website at www.gomad2011.com.

Websites used for research:

Monday, July 18, 2011

Happy Birthday! We love you!

Tomorrow, July 19th is Madeline's 16th birthday. As we wade through a whole new set of emotions and grief we can't help but ask the question, "What do you want for your birthday?" For most 16 year old girls it would probably be something along the lines of clothes, mp3 player, cell phone, drivers license, boyfriend or a car.
In Madey's case we thought there might be something more substantial that we could offer. Since we often take time to remember her and all that she taught us during her short life on earth, we couldn't help but think of all the times people have shared with us experiences when Madeline did something that made a difference in their lives. We have had some tell us that it was her smile, her kind hello, her welcoming personality, her faithful friendship, her desire for the underdog to come out on top, or her beautiful singing voice, or her contagious laugh that made the difference for them. Whatever it may have been, for Madeline's birthday we are asking for everyone to give Madey the present of being a difference maker. I guess what that means to us, is to look for an opportunity to make a difference for someone on Tuesday, July 19th. It doesn't have to be a grand or glorious act, most of what Madey did was simple, yet genuine. It could be something seemingly insignificant like opening a door for someone, sharing a kind word, sending a thank you note, sitting with the lonely, or any number of things. Whatever you decide to do whether it seems small to you or not, could be the difference maker for someone else. It might be the very thing that lifts their spirits or puts a smile on an otherwise unhappy face. And if you want to whisper a little 'happy birthday' to Madey when your done I think she would like it.
We feel like we have been the recipients of a lot of kindness, love, faith and prayers. And as we continue to find our way we know the Lord is with us.

Thanks Again for your continued faith, prayers, love, and kindness.

The Slaughters

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Gratitude, Graduation, and Grandeur

Another school year has come and gone, its hard to believe so much has happened in the last few months. I'm really not sure where to begin. I suppose I can start with Landon and see where it goes from there.

Landon has graduated from 6th grade, yeah! We will not have any children in elemantry school, ever again, which is really weird... he is very excited about moving on to Jr. High and the masses of pre-pubescent teens with acne, body odor, and a perpetual awkwardness that will accompany him and most of his peers for the next few years. He was involved in ballroom dance this year at school and also had a part in the school play "Honk" a musical version of the Ugly Duckling. It was sure fun to watch him and his friends as the play came together. Landon is also looking forward to scout camp and will be attending Space Camp in Alabama this month. He is now taller than his mom and seems to grow in his sleep.

Hillary just graduated from Layton High, can I get a Woot! Woot! She is very excited to move on to college, she will be attending BYU - Provo this fall (Go Cougars!). Hillary was very involved in school this year with Key Club and the Science Olympiad Team. The Layton High team took state this year and she got to travel to Wisconsin to compete in Nationals. We are very proud of all her hard work and we know the things she has learned will definately bless her at the next level.

Lindy and Cameron are in Logan attending Utah State, Lindy has been accepted into the Elementary Education program there, she and Cameron are both working hard and learning together about the struggles of married college students.

Madey continues to make a difference in our home and we have been blessed by many that continue to remember her. Last month Fairfield Jr. High retired Madey's basketball jersey. It was a tender moment, our hearts were full as coach Ron took a moment to honor her and present us with her jersey. We are also trying to continue the difference maker legacy. This year we started a scholarship. "The Difference Maker Scholarship in Honor of Madeline Slaughter". The scholarship was offered at three high schools here in the area, Northridge, Davis, and Layton. It was a rewarding and emotional experience to be involved in the process of selecting recipients and awarding the scholarships. But we felt it was what Madey wanted us to do and that she was pleased. Our hope is that we can continue to fund the scholarship for many years to come.

Now that the school year is over we took the time to go to Jackson Hole, Wyoming and check out Grand Teton National Park. We had a wonderful family vacation and enjoyed time together as well as the beauty of the park. We were also reminded of life lessons learned. While hiking to Hidden Falls in the Jenny Lake area of the park, we found that much of the trail was still covered in several feet of snow. Landon didn't have on very good hiking shoes and struggled to get good traction. We were just about 30 yards from achieving our goal of the falls when Landon decided we should quit and go back. I aked him how he would feel if when we got back to the lake he realized we missed the waterfall by a few yards? He still didn't want to go on, but with some urging he continued and we all got to see the splendor of this magnificent scene. It made me stop and think how many times in my life I have wanted to quit when I was just short of a desired goal or needed blessing. I guess I was reminded that sometimes the blessing comes solely by completing the journey.

As we move forward on our journey we hope that we will have the courage to continue even when the trail is difficult and we feel like turning back. Knowing that the Lord will bless us along the way.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Thank you, Miss Madey!

It has been quite the internal struggle to know whether or not to continue updating our blog. For the longest time we thought since Madeline's battle was over maybe the blog should be over as well. But recent events have caused us to rethink our decision and so here we are looking for our "new normal". We really aren't sure what its supposed to look like or if we will even recognize it when its discovered, but we are learning a lot about ourselves and striving to embrace the unwanted changes in our life.
To help us on our journey we were blessed by the Make a Wish Foundation to take a trip to Florida. Madey had been granted a wish last year and just prior to her passing she changed her wish and requested that her family go to Florida on her behalf. When we received the news that Madey had changed her wish and that the foundation had made an exception to send us to Florida we were filled with many mixed emotions. The weeks leading up to the trip were filled with anxiety and fear, 'how can we take Madey's trip without Madey'? We were also informed that we would be staying at the "Give Kids the World Village" with other families that had children with terminal illnesses. We didn't know how we would feel when we saw beautiful bald headed children taking a break from their battle with cancer to enjoy Mickey, Minnie, and all that Disney World has to offer.
When we got to Florida and met the amazing people that run the Village, something started to change for us. We began to realize that this trip existed in many ways to help us heal. There were many teary moments, but they were good tears. We cried because we miss Madey, we cried because of the love and kindness of strangers, and we cried because we know no matter how much we miss our wonderful daughter, sister, and friend she truly is in a better place.
Our trip was truly amazing not only did we get to spend time at several theme parks, we also got to spend time as a family and we had what I guess you would call several "Madey Moments". One such moment came on the day we went to Sea World. We were so excited, none of us had ever been there and really didn't know what to expect. When we first arrived we immediately went to get seats for the dolphin show, it was really fun. We then went to the area where you can feed dolphins only to be discouraged by a long line. So we decided to see some of the other sights and come back later. The kids all wanted to ride the Manta rollercoaster, so while they waited in line Michelle and I went to save seats for the Shamu show. As luck would have it the roller coaster took longer than expected and the kids missed the killer whale show, so we watched it without them, awesome show. We decided we would go see some other shows and ride some rides and come back to Shamu for the second showing, which we did. After Shamu we hurried to the dolphin feeding area only to find out they had stopped feeding dolphins 15 minutes before we got there, bummer. So we hung around the dolphin viewing area trying to get a dolphin to come close enough so we could pet it. All Madey had wanted to do at Sea World was pet a dolphin. Well the dolphins were smarter than us and stayed just out of reach. I decided I should slap the wall to try and get their attention Cameron followed suit and we were reprimanded by one of the workers, embarrassing. Who knew that this one act of stupidity would lead to a conversation with the worker/dolphin trainer. She noticed that we were all wearing our 'Miles for Madey' fun/run t-shirts. She asked about them and Michelle tearfully explained that it was the two month anniversary of Madey's passing and we were on this trip to fulfill one of her wishes, to pet a dolphin. Before we knew it we were quietly ushered into the dolphin feeding area where the trainer got a bucket of fish and began feeding three very active dolphins, Jen, Starky, and Tiger. She got the dolphins to slide up on a ledge so that we could take turns petting them, it was amazing and so fun to hear the excited laughter of the family. Then out of nowhere one of the dolphins, Jen, splashed Michelle, and then stopped and just stared at her. There was no doubt that Madey was with us, and the playful behavior of a dolphin reminded us of the playful nature of Madey. Several scenes from the past returned to our minds, scenes of Madey squirting a different victim each night with a syringe full of water, or her squirtgun camera she had purchased at All A Dollar, all the while laughing because she got you. We left Sea World that night with grateful hearts, realizing there really are no accidents. Whether it comes in the form of being stuck on a ride, missing a show, or a long line at a dolphin feeding area, tender mercies are all around us, just waiting for us to recognize them.
We were only able to take this trip because of the kindness of others, we were blessed by the kindness of others all week. From the amazing staff at Make A Wish to the incredible people at Give Kids the World, to a dolphin trainer named Katie, and three area high schools who texted to bless our family. We anticipate the blessings of paying it forward as we strive to be difference makers, like Madey and so many of you....
Madey, your star will always shine on cloud 9 row 1 star 7

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Missing Madeline

On Tuesday January 11th our sweet Madey was taken home to her Heavenly Father. She courageously battled cancer, Ewing's Sarcoma, and was and is an inspiration to all of us. We have often felt that Madey was sent to earth to be a difference maker. She has inspired and helped many on this difficult journey and we will be forever grateful that she is our daughter, our sister, and our friend. We are also grateful that life doesn't begin with birth nor end with death.
A viewing is scheduled for Friday January 14th from 6-8 pm at Lindquist Mortuary in Layton, Funeral services will be help Saturday January 15th at 11:00 am at the Fairfield LDS Chapel 380 S. Fairfield rd. There will be a short viewing prior to the service from 9:30-10:30 am.

We wish to express our love and gratitude to all those who have loved and supported Madey with your faith, prayers, and your kindness. We love you.