Murfreesboro native Madeline “Maddie” Wright is a kindergartener at Blackman Elementary. She enjoys many of the same things that any typical five-year-old would: painting pottery, going to the library and bookstore, attending Sunday School, taking gymnastic lessons, riding horses (the few times she’s been), loving animals of all kind (especially her dogs Stella and Sophia) and eating M&M pancakes, sunflower seeds and her Nana’s meatballs.
She is a typical little girl, but there are quite a few things about her that aren’t typical.
Her story started when she was in-utero. Eighteen weeks into the pregnancy, her mother found she had Cystic Fibrosis. Maddie spent the first three months of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt.
Throughout her life, the hospital has become her second home. Three to four times a year, she’s usually in the hospital for a two-week stay to battle an infection or Cystic Fibrosis-related issue. Maddie has grown to love the hospital as her home away from home.
“What I like about the hospital is the nurses are very sweet, the kitchen food is tasty and also I like that my BFF nurses are here,” said Maddie. “Children’s Hospital is like being home, just not at your house. It is where you get better and when you get to leave and go home you’re like a brand new self. It’s great even if you don’t get presents because the most thing that matters is to get better.”
Maddie’s exuberant, fun-loving spirit and fearless determination to not let Cystic Fibrosis slow her down are what makes her such a special addition to the 72nd running of the Iroquois Steeplechase.