The treatment is in San Jose, and so Madison and her mother have been staying there in a hostel for children receiving cancer treatment. It sounds like a great program, and Madison has been making friends and enjoying the toys there. According to her family, she is doing well and feeling strong. Her grandma says that she is a warrior and is very brave.
We have been thinking about what we can do to support Madison’s family in this time of need. When the medical crisis was emerging, we were renting cars to take them to their appointments in San Jose. Now they take the bus to and from San Jose, but since they are staying in a hostel there, this is much less often. We have been praying about how to support Madison and her family in a way that will truly provide emotional and tangible support. Sometimes it’s easy, in an attempt to “help” or rescue someone, to rush in and throw money at a problem or to give things that might be well intentioned but that end up being ineffective at best or detrimental at worst. Unfortunately, disparity in resources is a really difficult barrier to authentic relationships, and throwing money around can come across as showy or condescending; it can also create feelings of helplessness or entitlement. I think that what people usually need isn’t just help or money, but understanding, care, and relationship. Unfortunately, building that is the harder part, especially when there are so many differences in culture, background, communication, and interests.
After the period of taking Madison to San Jose, we sought to just be in relationship with her family without providing material assistance while we learned more about what the medical situation is, what the treatment would be like, and what would support the family the most. One thing that has become clear is the need to help them create a more comfortable home. I pray that Madison fully recovers and experiences no more health problems. But regardless of what the future holds, a cleaner, healthier, and more comfortable home will benefit her. The social worker assigned to Madison has also expressed concern about her living situation, suggesting that perhaps Madison might not be allowed to live in her current conditions.
I brought up with Jonathan and Stefani, Madison’s parents, our interest in helping them improve their house, and they put together a list of materials. I went with Comanche to the hardware store where we ordered the supplies and had them delivered. Interestingly, the social worker paid a trip to Brasilito shortly after the materials were delivered, saw the condition of Madison’s house and the animals and the piles of firewood, and declared that Madison would not be allowed to live there. In San Jose a few days later, Stefani explained that it would be financially impossible for them to rent another place and explained that they were improving their house and had already acquired the supplies. The social worker was convinced and gave the green light for the renovations to begin. Jonathan has been working nearly non-stop—at least eight hours a day, six days a week at work and then on his own house in the evenings and on the weekends—to get their place completed before Madison is finished with her treatment in the middle of November. It is beautiful to see this father working so hard to take care of his daughter, and it’s amazing to see the transformation of their home. He’s doing great work, and it’s coming together very fast!
I know that some of you have expressed an interest in helping out Madison. If you’d like to contribute to this project, I’ve created a GoFundMe page to make that possible. Personally, I feel a little uncomfortable with GoFundMe campaigns since there is no accountability for how the money is spent, but it does seem to be the best platform for this. However, I would like to pledge that not one cent of the funds will be used on ourselves, and to help with accountability, I will be keeping track of how all of the funds are used.
I’ve also created a tab on this website that is dedicated to pictures and updates to Madison’s story. Check it out! OurSabbathYear.com/Madisons-Story.