Maddison ready to shine at Relay for Life

The Challen family, Vanessa, Glen, Maddison and Andrew. Picture: AARON GOODWIN

By Angela Norval

If you met Maddison Challen, you would most likely have no idea of the challenges she has faced in her young life.

Her parents Vanessa and Glen continue to be astounded by the way she greets each day with such a positive attitude, making other people feel so special through her beautiful smile.

It is this happy and bubbly personality that Vanessa said will definitely be on display at this year’s Relay for Life, with Maddison already counting down the days.

“The Relay for Life is the start of some exciting events for Maddison and it is one that she is looking forward to sharing with the rest of the community,” Vanessa said.

“I currently have a table full of tulle and, in Maddison’s words, the colours are blending well when it comes to her costume for the Relay for Life. We are definitely not stuck for ideas given we have a nine-year-old with a very active imagination.

“I can’t believe it is only six weeks away and Glen and I are trying to think outside of the box for our costumes following the Australiana theme as adults are a little harder than children.

“The whole family is excited to get our campsite ready on the Saturday at the Bundaberg Recreational Precinct, also in keeping with the theme, and already Maddison is wanting to keep going for the whole time.

“Maddison has such a wonderful personality and she continues to be inspirational to so many people with her brightness and is really wanting to meet as many people as she can.”

Despite being such a small package, Maddison does bring so much happiness to others and, thankfully, is meeting some health goals including something as simple as putting on weight which is always a good sign. In September, she will celebrate her 10th birthday, another milestone moment in her life.

Maddison Challen was only four when she was diagnosed with Rhabdomyosarcoma, a cancer of the soft tissue.

What followed was years of treatment, complications, surgeries, radiation, chemotherapy, and time away from loved ones.

“Despite what we have been through, through her inspirational personality Maddison has shown us that with plenty of support, something wonderful can come out of something that was sad and negative,” Vanessa said.

Cancer Council Queensland community development specialist Rebecca Field said Relay for Life brings the community together to celebrate cancer survivorship, remember loved ones lost and raise vital funds for cancer care and support.

“This year, for the Bundaberg-Fraser Coast Relay for Life, we hope to raise over $100,000 before the Australiana themed event on Saturday 13 August from 1pm,” she said.

There’s still time to register yourself or a team. Just head to relayforlife.org.au”