I believe that time is the second most valuable thing in the entire world, and you're spending some of yours reading this post and checking out our new blog- thank you. This week, our team gets to post introductions (which are my favorite). I love people and I love their stories, so feel free to comment yours below so we can "meet".
My name's Madison, which causes a great divide between my friends. Some call me Maddie, some sound wierd calling me Maddie, but most call me Madison...take your pick. My birthday is October 28, I'm 25, and my favorite color is yellow, which I used to hate. I was born in Atlanta, my middle school AIM screen name was madixwootwoop, and I've been skydiving twice. I wish MySpace was still a thing, even though Top 8's stressed me out, and I teared up when I saw that they were bringing back Double Dare 2000 for the summer...nostalgia. I try to live a dairy-free life, but that gets tough because my belief system tells me that cheese on everything is a means of living my best life. I do have a non-negotiable gluten allergy called Celiacs and a mom who makes fun of my toes and the way I yawn. My youngest sibling is three years old and is cuter than any other child on the planet, which says a lot because kids are really not my thing. My favorite things do include people, coffee, Bible'ing, traveling, and hiking. When we go around the little intro circles and have to give a fun fact, mine is always that I beat cancer at 21 years old. Cue...this blog.
I grew up in Clearwater, Florida, home of some of the top beaches in America and the most hair-frizzing humidity on the planet. My high school was called Countryside and my home church was called Harborside (we're all about the side's here). I grew an understanding of Jesus and what it looks like to follow him under the leadership of the world's greatest youth pastor duo, Tom-E Shelton and Kelli Wright. They took our youth group on trips and conferences every summer, which is where I grew a passion to help those stuck in human trafficking. I followed Christine Caine's A21 campaign for a few years before applying in 2012. I had just finished my AA degree at a local college, SPC, when I was offered my dream internship spot with A21 in California! I was getting ready to move when my grandpa was diagnosed with cancer. My grandpa was my guy. He played a huge role in my childhood and was always supposed to be one of the men to walk me down the aisle one day.
When grandpa was diagnosed, I saw what it meant to fight cancer. It looked like endless prayers and constant Bible reading. It meant trusting God's words over the doctor's words when they didn't align. It looked like being vulnerable and letting people in, especially on the toughest days. It meant keeping the focus and perspective eternal.
He equipped me for my own fight when I was diagnosed with the same kind of cancer, non-Hodgkins lymphoma, five months later in May 2013, the same month he passed away from the disease. Long story longer, I was up against chemotherapy, radiation, and fertility treatments for the next 10 months, which is a heck of a lot shorter than most. God gave me Romans 8:28 to lean on, a promise that He is working this cancer out for my good, so I could carry a fearless attitude throughout and know that He has my back. He promises that doing life with him means that it's eternal... cancer could kill me, but it couldn't actually kill me. Heaven awaits.
I was put into remission in 2014 and had a passion-shift from human trafficking to young adult cancer in the following year. Cue Spark the Way. To celebrate a year in remission, we created this organization to serve young adults who are so neglected in the cancer world, to be their community, their financial aid, their mind-protectors, prayer warriors, and Truth-speakers. The Lord has seriously developed and molded this mission over the last 3 years to be all that it is, and this blog is one of His developments. He's brought me a team of 4 amazing humans- 3 authentic, God-fearing writers and 1 hilarious, genius, big-dreaming site builder.
I'm so looking forward to being your blogger for the STW portion of our new site! Welcome to Spark the Way's newest blog, and welcome to my life!