Our Daughter, Madeline Jean was a vivacious, free spirited and perfectly healthy little girl who was about to turn 12 on March 2. For being only 11 years old she had such a passion for life. She flourished in school, absorbing everything she was taught in all classes like a sponge. Madeline's passions were reading anything she could get her hands on. She loved music and playing the piano, steel drums, and clarinet. She was an artist as well. Her imagination ran wild every time she picked up a pencil. She loved fashion and wearing the funkiest, most colorful outfits she could create and she didn’t care what anyone thought. She could rock any outfit with her “Maddie Style”. Madeline is a daughter, big sister, granddaughter, niece, cousin and friend to anyone. If you didn’t know her she would open up and talk to you like you were old friends. Madeline loved to hug and that’s the first thing she would do when she saw you, tall or short, happy or sad…her arms fit perfectly around everyone’s neck.
Madeline is one of the tallest most beautiful flowers in the garden of our family.
She had never been ill minus the regular cold here and there. On January 22, she said she was tired and thought she was coming down with a cold. On February 5, she was still a little sick feeling, but was up and dancing around the room to the half time show for the Super Bowl on TV. Madeline loved anything to do with music and dancing but it was clear she should be seen by her doctor. On Monday, February 6, at 10:30 am she was diagnosed with an ear infection and prescribed some antibiotics by her pediatrician. At 1 pm she took her first dose. At 4 pm it was clear something was not right. She was slurring her words, and not making a lot of sense. She was walking around like she was drunk and stumbling. Just before 6 pm everyone noticed something was definitely wrong and the ambulance was called. When she arrived at the hospital she was barely responsive and needed to be intubated.
For hours no one knew what was going on with our healthy little girl.
By midnight Madeline was unresponsive. The following evening, after multiple tests, blood work and CT scans, she was diagnosed with Influenza Type A by a simple nose swab. Although Madeline did have her flu shot in October. She suffered a catastrophic neurological event and sadly passed away from encephalitis, an infection in the brain resulting in irreversible swelling and damage to her brain stem. Madeline Jean gained her wings on February 8 at 11:11 am. Our lives have been shattered and every day, we go over the “what ifs”. She will never graduate, go to prom or have her first kiss. We will never get to see her walk down the aisle and say “I do”. Influenza A shows no discrimination. It will and can infect anyone and take you down in a hours. Our mission is to spread awareness and help educate everyone about the flu, to keep our daughters memory alive, and if possible save one life.
Madeline is featured in The End-FLUenza Projects 'Operation Flu Hat'.