We had just moved to Colorado in October of 2014. My middle child, Maddy, was in 3rd grade. At the end of March, she started complaining of knee pain. She thought she bumped it at school. A week later, when she started limping, I became concerned. I took her into an orthopedic on April 10, 2015, where the x-rays didn’t show anything. The diagnosis was a soft-tissue injury. Two weeks later, and it was rapidly progressing. I took her into a pediatric orthopedic, who also diagnosed the same thing and recommended physical therapy. We did physical therapy for a few weeks, which caused her an immense amount of discomfort and pain, but the limp was getting worse and the knee was swelling.
On June 1, she got a nosebleed that wouldn’t quit, and she was no longer able to walk on the leg. I took her into the local ER and refused to leave until we had some answers. After some concerning test results, they sent us by ambulance to Children’s Hospital in Denver. After the longest night of her life and mine, we first heard the word “osteosarcoma.” Two days and many more tests later, we were told there was nothing they could do. In less than 3 months, it had spread from one knee to all 4 limbs and throughout her lungs. She was brought home on hospice on June 8th, and she passed away on June 16, 2015, 4 weeks shy of her 9th birthday and 2 weeks after her diagnosis.
She was my child with a heart of gold. My petite little girl who would put herself between a bully and victim and stand up for what was right. She always included everyone, and was a friend to all. She was the kindest soul I’ve ever known, and cancer took her from me faster than I had time to process what was happening. No mother should ever have to watch her child struggle to take her last breath. The world has less color because Maddy is no longer in it.
Jessica Grayless, Mom of Maddy the Mighty