From Paralysis to Miraculous: Maddie’s Inspirational True Story

September marks the beginning of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month. One special Lurie Children’s family is taking the month to show the community the love, light, and inspiration that accompanies even the darkest of pediatric cancer journeys.

In memory of their beloved daughter, Maddie Kramer (who bravely battled a rare form of cancer as a toddler), Maddie’s parents will be leading a social media campaign to #ShineMaddiesLight on childhood cancer. Specifically, for each and every day in September, the Kramer Family and their ever-growing “Team Maddie” will be posting on social media a different inspirational lesson from Maddie’s journey. Below her father, Scott Kramer, shares Maddie’s story.

Despite the unimaginable pain that accompanies a child’s battle with cancer, Pammy and I are holding on to Maddie’s inspiration in every which way. And with Maddie, there is an endless amount of inspiration to go around. Maddie’s cancer journey began on April 21, 2017, when she underwent emergency surgery at Lurie Children’s to remove a rare, cancerous tumor from her spinal cord. In the hours before surgery, the aggressive tumor had started to paralyze Maddie’s body. Without warning, this smiling, dancing bundle of light was intubated and preparing for a six-hour surgery in an attempt to save her life. As the surgery began, we did not know whether Maddie would survive this risk-laden procedure. And even if she did, whether Maddie would be able to walk, talk, or otherwise function as she had before was entirely unknown.

In true Maddie form, she blew away all expectations. Under the skilled hands of Lurie neurosurgeon, Dr. Tord Alden, not only did Maddie survive the surgery, but in just a matter of days, she was back to her walking, talking, smiling, and dancing self. This incredible path from paralysis to miraculous would define the remainder of Maddie’s battle with cancer. Despite continuing her post-surgery cancer treatment with rigorous chemotherapy agents that would wreak havoc on any person, let alone a small child, Maddie kept on shining. With the support of her family, and the child life specialist team at Lurie Children’s Hospital (or as Maddie would say, the “Fun Team” at “Lurie’s Place”), Maddie battled cancer the only way an innocent toddler could – with playing, with dancing, with smiling, and with singing.

Although Maddie’s battle with cancer came to an end in January of this year, we continue to wage our war of light and love on childhood cancer. Starting today, September 1st, through our beautiful #ShineMaddiesLight campaign, we plan to shine Maddie’s bright light across the world. To raise awareness. To raise money for cancer charities. And to raise light and life for families undertaking this challenging journey.

Scott and Pammy Kramer’s inspirational journey does not end there. The Kramers’ self-published book, Maddie’s Miracles: A Book of Life, is a firsthand look at Maddie’s inspirational journey through cancer. In honor of Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, the book is available on Amazon. The book is a true story of light and love in the face of adversity. 100% of the book’s net sales proceeds during Childhood Cancer Awareness Month will be donated to Lurie Children’s and other cancer charities. Purchase the book here.

To learn more about Maddie’s story, and to participate in the #ShineMaddiesLight campaign, please follow the Kramers’ blog at and join in shining. We at “Lurie’s Place” will also be following along and periodically sharing inspirational messages from Maddie’s journey throughout the month.

On behalf of Lurie Children’s and the Kramer family, thank you for your support of our pediatric cancer families. And thank you for your help as we #ShineMaddiesLight in honor of our brave little fighters!


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