Help Maddie James Realize Her Dream

Clear eyes, full hearts

My good friend Mme Marbles just sent me this link. Her friend Collie’s five year old daughter, Maddie James, is dying of an inoperable brain tumor and likely has only weeks to live. Maddie’s favorite place is the Ocean Institute in Dana Point, California, and she and her family are determined to raise enough money ($1 million) for a new dock and learning center in Maddie’s name.

These are scary and cynical times in which we live; the animosity and discord threatens to blacken our hearts. It is stories like these, however, that remind us of what’s really important: friends, family, and love. So — if you’re so inclined — dig into your pockets and donate whatever you can to the Maddie James Foundation. Let’s help this precious little girl realize her dream.

For more information about the Maddie James Foundation, and to make a donation, click here.

[via CBS Los Angeles]

[From Silly Black Lady to Sappy Black Lady. There’s something in the air, I guess. -ABLxx]


[cross-posted here]

44 replies
  1. 1

    Done & tweeted, & I’ll RT you in a little while, so that it hits more eyeballs.

    Not Sappy so much as loving.

    Gentle wishes to the family.

  2. 2
    Palooza says:

    I am in for $50. Sad story.

  3. 3
    Dan says:

    That’s sweet, but can’t the money be put to better use than a dock? Research or towards a children’s hospital or something?

  4. 4
    aimai says:

    Thank you for posting this, ABL. This is the most painful thing a family can endure. And coming on the heels of the previous post about the Afghan boys? Well, I’m just shattered.


  5. 5
    Dan says:

    Sorry my response was douchey. But the Click to Edit and Request Deletion buttons don’t seem to work with Chrome.

  6. 6
    Dave says:

    This isn’t sappy at all.

    I lost my daughter Ellie to cancer last October, at the same age as Maddie. Words cannot describe what it is like. And for her parents to be doing this is remarkable and inspiring.

  7. 7
    inventor says:

    I live close to the Institute, I’ll see what I can do.

  8. 8
    Martin says:

    $1M for the Ocean Institute? Around these parts, that’s one donor. They should be talking to Henry Nicholas, if they can stand the son of a bitch – but this is right up his alley.

  9. 9
    Violet says:

    Try right clicking and editing in new tab or page. That seems to work, even though the regular Edit function isn’t working.

    And it’s a dock AND learning center. I think helping people learn about the ocean is a worthy cause.

    Gentle thoughts for the family. Such a tough thing to go through.

  10. 10

    @Dave: Dave, I am so sorry for your loss. That’s so hard. My deepest condolences to you and your loved ones.

    ABL, you have a good heart. I’m in. This is tragic. My thoughts go out to the family.

  11. 11
    R-Jud says:

    @Dave: Oh, Dave. I’m so sorry about Ellie. What a sweet, gorgeous little girl.

  12. 12
    Joy says:

    Thanks ABL for posting the link. I have healthy children and my heart goes out to Maddie’s parents and Dave as well for his loss. I cannot fathom the loss and I will keep gentle thoughts for them in my heart.

  13. 13
    Dave says:

    @asiangrrlMN: @R-Jud: Thank you both.

    I left a note and a donation at the site. I just hope that they don’t give up hope.

    My daughter was given two months with her diagnosis and she made it 20 months. I hope they aren’t somehow limiting themselves or Maddie in any way because of the doctor’s diagnosis. Ellie did an amazing amount of living in that time. You can’t ever stop fighting, no matter what.

  14. 14
    Violet says:

    So sorry for your loss. It sounds like your daughter packed a lot of living into her short life. We can all learn from that.

  15. 15
    JPL says:

    @Dave: I’m so sorry for your loss and it was such a nice gesture on your part to leave a note.

  16. 16
    Kristine says:

    @Dave–my heart goes out to you. I never had children, so I can’t imagine the feeling. But I am so sorry.

  17. 17
    Villago Delenda Est says:


    You expect to bury your parents.

    Your children are supposed to bury you.

    The loss of a child is far more devastating than almost any other death of someone close to you.

    My parents went through it when my brother died, 24 years ago, and were never quite the same afterwards.

    Courage, Dave. Courage. Hang in there, buddy.

  18. 18
    Nina says:

    I will bookmark the site and send a donation as soon as I am able. The families that endure a loss like this, each in their own way:


    Ellie did an amazing amount of living in that time. You can’t ever stop fighting, no matter what.

    and the James family, doing what they must.
    Thanks ABL.

  19. 19
    Mudge says:

    Done. I have a daughter. Something like this would have been devastating.

  20. 20
    abo gato says:

    What a lovely little girl. So sad, this is one of those things that should never happen to a parent and yet it happens all too often.

    A friend of mine at work got a call at the office yesterday afternoon that her daughter had died. She had just been telling a co-worker that her daughter had the flu or a cold and was on medication. She also said how happy she was that her daughter had met someone and had recently gotten engaged. Her boyfriend found her unresponsive when he came home yesterday. They think it may have been a reaction to the meds. My friend is devastated.

    I am going to go call my son. This is too awful.

  21. 21

    @Dave: I’m so sorry for your loss, Dave.

  22. 22
    BGinCHI says:

    Edit: wrong thread.

  23. 23
    fitzwili says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. I had cancer myself right around this age and I know how strong a parent has to be for a young child. My mom and dad were everything to me when I was sick, as I am sure you were to your daughter.

  24. 24
    fitzwili says:

    I gave a small donation and will come back next month to follow up with another. Thanks for doing this. In this time of acrimony, it is valuable to remember that we should be caring for one another.

  25. 25

    @Dave: Dave, I’m so sorry to hear about your loss. I do not have children, but still, to lose a child is devastating…and it does not matter the age.

    When my mother died suddenly back in ’03, her mother was still alive. My mother’s passing was an emotional blow that my grandmother never recovered from.

    And to ABL: Thank you for posting this. It is very true that we live in cynical, spiteful times, but this serves to remind us about what really matters–and not to take them for granted.

  26. 26
    slag says:

    Done. I agree with Maddie on Dana Point. It’s a great place to learn cool stuff.

  27. 27
    RedKitten says:

    I’m so sorry for your loss, Dave. Ellie seems to have been a real little firecracker — one who sparkled brightly. My heart definitely goes out to you.

    It’s funny…before I had kids, I’d hear expecting couples being asked what gender they’d prefer. And they’d invariably say, “Oh, as long as the baby’s healthy, that’s all that matters to us.” And I used to kind of roll my eyes and think, “Well, DUH. Of course you want the baby to be healthy.”

    But now that I’m a mother, and now that some of my peers have lost their children to that bitch, cancer…well, it kind of gives new meaning to that oft-used phrase. Because I’ve realized that there are no guarantees. My son is healthy today, but I’m not so special that I’m guaranteed that he’ll always be healthy. It really, genuinely COULD happen to any of our kids. So yeah, you do realize that everything else is just details…you just want them to stay healthy and stay with you.

  28. 28
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    I’m not a parent but I have a 13-year-old grandniece who has some really scary serious health issues. But when she’s not occupied lying in a hospital bed for days on end getting massive infusions of factor, she is bright, energetic, optimistic, and incredibly caring. Her dream is to study at Scripps and be an oceanographer, so my donation to the Maddie fund is in her name and in support of her dream.

  29. 29

    What a fabulous group of people y’all are. Really lovely.

  30. 30

    Donation done. What a sad story. Makes me look in on my child and hold my breath…

    Good on you, ABL, for getting this up here.

  31. 31
    RosiesDad says:

    @Dave: So sorry for your loss, Dave. Parents should not have to bury their own children; it’s just wrong.

    Donation done, I’m going to hug my kids.

  32. 32
    Annie says:


    So sorry for your loss. Went to your site and read your awesome words. I think Ellie can teach us all a lot about faith. Keep writing. It will be Ellie’s legacy. Your words and your memory and what she can teach us all.

  33. 33
    TuiMel says:

    Dave, my heart goes out to you.

    That sort of heartbreak is just inconceivable to me. I wish you peace and some sort of solace.

    I hope Maddie’s parents are successful in their expression of their love for their little girl.

  34. 34

    @Dave: How amazing that you can find the grace within you to reach out to Maddie’s parents. You have me in tears.

  35. 35
    General Stuck says:

    I’ve been mentally blocking out this post, or commenting on it because it is so unbelievably sad/ What an angel, Maddie.

    No internet tough guy on this one. a soggy eyed one.

  36. 36
    IronyAbounds says:

    Since my girls have been born I am completely unable to handle stories about kids passing way before their time. My biggest fear is my kids getting badly hurt or worse. My breath catches just a bit every time I get a phone call from of them just out of fear something is wrong. To lose a child like this is unspeakably horrible. I can’t offer prayers because I’m not religious (one reason being how innocent children are taken from us – there is no way a benevolent deity would allow that), but I can offer a few bucks and my heartfelt sympathy to the family.

  37. 37
    Zuzu's Petals says:

    Bless Maddie and her parents. And blessings to you, Dave. May you feel supported in every way.

  38. 38
    bobnoxious says:

    they blondies, has nothing to do with it. the Dana Point institute needs a dock, because Orange County just can’t find the money. Orange County needs you…

  39. 39
    DPirate says:

    This stuff is really sick, imo.

  40. 40
    Gregory says:

    Aw, that’s so sad. Dave, I’m very sorry for your loss.

    Thank you for the opportunity to donate, ABL.

  41. 41
    Ash Can says:

    Since becoming a parent myself, I can’t even contemplate this kind of loss. How horrible. We parents should all be buried by our (grown) children. When it doesn’t happen that way, it’s nothing but evil. I wish every possible blessing and strength upon Maddie’s parents and also upon you, @Dave. No parent, and no young child, should ever have to go through an ordeal like this.

  42. 42
    Ash Can says:

    PS: Thanks for doing this, ABL.

  43. 43
    KC says:

    Maddie’s father is a high school classmate of mine. It’s been painful reading about everything they’re going through, but inspiring to see all the things they’re doing to help Maddie enjoy the time she and they still have together.

    I was surprised to see this here this morning. I’m so glad to see this getting some wider attention. Thank you very much for posting this, and thank you to everyone who’s donated and spread this around. I really want to see this happen for them.

    If you have a chance, go to the Foundation site and read the blog they keep about Maddie. Obviously, you’ll read about her illness, too, but it has pictures of some of her sea-themed art and stories from the trips she’s taken. She really loves the Institute and has soaked up everything she can about the ocean. She is one smart and funny little girl.

  44. 44
    Death Panel Truck says:

    Sorry, can’t help you. My cousin is dying of inoperable stage IV lung cancer. It has spread to his brain. Chemo is helping, but it will only extend his life rather than cure the disease. I’d rather use my money to help him pay his mortgage so he and his wife don’t lose their home than help someone build a dock. But then, that’s just me.

Comments are closed.