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#MaddyStrong event a potential reunion for family, friends

By Max

It’s an event that’s been more than a year in the making.

The #MaddyStrong fundraiser was originally slated for April 2020, but delayed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. With restrictions now lessened, this fundraiser is back on for Sept. 10.

Madison Mayo, 19, said there was never an intention to completely cancel the event, which will feature food, entertainment, and raffles. When COVID cases began to rise last year the decision was made to first push back the event, and later postpone to a date to be determined. She said the community came together in a big way, either by buying tickets or spreading the word.

It’s been an awesome experience to see how the town can support one family,” said Mayo, of North Attleborough.

Money brought in from the fundraiser will help cover medical expenses incurred during Madison’s surgery to remove a cancerous tumor and follow-up treatment, first diagnosed in January 2020. But perhaps just as important, this event will offer a chance for her to reunite with friends and family, some of whom she hasn’t seen since before the pandemic. She said that most of her family lives outside of Massachusetts, some as far away as Florida and Texas.

I just graduated high school,” she said. “This is a really good chance to see my friends from high school again.”

Though the surgery has been completed, Madison continues to see her doctor for follow-up visits. She said that after the surgery in late January, she remained in the hospital for a few weeks before returning to school. She was back in the hospital a short time later and saw on the news about the first COVID cases.

I didn’t know what was going on and talked to folks about it,” she said. “They told me it would be really bad. Just watching that on the news was really scary, I was in the same hospital as the people being treated.”

Madison remembered those weeks as a frightening time filled with unknowns. As cases increased her family had to be tested for COVID symptoms in order for them to visit.

I heard stories, even saw some of the kids who were sick,” she said.

2020 was also Madison’s senior year at Tri-County Regional High School. When she was in the hospital her friends visited and caught her up on the latest happenings at the school and she communicated with her teachers via Facetime. Like her fellow seniors she missed out on a lot of milestones when the pandemic forced schools to close.

My friends made sure I didn’t miss any more than I should,” she said. “They tried their best to make sure it felt like I was there.”

Madison is currently a student at Dean College, majoring in early education. She’s also on the softball team in the infielder/outfielder position. Due to her condition, hitting her head could be especially dangerous and she also has a history of seizures, but said the team’s coach always pushes her to be better. Her goal after college is to work in Special Education and hopes to speak with young people who have had experiences similar to hers.

It taught me how to be tougher—I grew up a lot faster,” she said. “I’m grateful I was able to learn from this, learn from my experiences.”

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