By Kate Anderson
To know Maddie Roseboom is to know that she is a force to be reckoned with. Maddie, 10, doesn’t let life stop her from doing what she wants to do and is always her authentic self. Maddie’s life started out with many challenges. She was born with congenital heart disease that has caused her to have only one working ventricle pumping blood to the rest of her body. This diagnosis led her to have a series of three open heart surgeries, at the ages of 2 weeks, 9 months, and 2 years old. These surgeries were successful, but not without complications. After her first surgery her parents, Dustin and Amy Roseboom, were told that they were only permitted to let her cry for no longer than 10 minutes. “This was both stressful and very scary. How do you prevent your infant from crying?” said Amy. Just as they thought they had a handle on their new situation, another roadblock was presented. Maddie suffered from a stroke at 2 weeks old. Although there were, thankfully, no complications, it brought clear focus to both Dustin and Amy the road that they faced ahead of them. “We were worried about the outcome of all of this and what her future would look like. Everyone at Riley Hospital, from her nurses and doctors to other support staff, were so encouraging and patient with us. We had no frame of reference and were going purely on instinct at that point,” said Amy. Dustin and Amy banded together and by leaning on their extended family for support, they knew that they could get through these tough periods of Maddie’s life and help take care of Maddie’s older sister, Kylie. “During that time, we had to be with Maddie so much that we worried about how Kylie would do with all of this turmoil, but she was amazingly understanding and compassionate towards her younger sister,” said Amy. Kylie is the “old soul” of the family and mothers Maddie in a kind and gentle way. She also has a younger sister, Allison, who is the “funny girl” of the family and offers much needed comic relief at times of stress. “Trips to Riley with three little girls was a very scary experience. I was constantly worried about germs. I was constantly worried one of them would get sick,” said Amy. With Maddie’s lowered immune system, she was always in panic mode. Although she had so many concerns, there were many “divine” experiences that finally led her to release the reins on her fears and allowed her to let Maddie “just be a kid”.
Despite the uncertain start she had in her life, this sweet, smart, champion of a girl with a heart of gold prevailed and continues to surprise and delight everyone to this day. Encouraged by her parents to never let anything stop her, she loves to challenge herself every day and has an amazing outlook on life. Maddie loves all animals, especially dogs and horses, and has recently started taking horseback riding lessons. When I asked her mom Amy what she wanted to be when she grew up, she simply said “either a vet or a farmer.” Maddie loves the outdoors and is perfectly content to swing in the summer breeze while listening to music on her mom’s phone, which she says is a “must” for proper swinging conditions. She is a creative spirit, with a passion for art and music. She loves to walk around the house with her mom or dad’s guitar, strumming thoughtfully. Maddie recently composed a song called “Faith over Fear”. She loves Jesus and her faith and looks to hopefully be baptized this coming year. As she has grown, Maddie has become slightly more aware of her illness. She asks questions from time to time but has been encouraged by her parents to rise above it all and just be her genuine self. She doesn’t let anything stop her or her illness define her. Last year, she ran/walked a 5k with her amazing third grade teacher, Mrs. Burghardt, and her family cheering her on along the way. This resilient girl never ceases to amaze her family, friends, and teachers. Recently, at the WZPL Make-A-Wish Request-A-Thon, Maddie had her wish of a trip to Disney granted. She, along with her family, will travel to Florida next year and “she is so excited and can’t wait to see her favorite Disney character, Stitch,” says Amy. This year, the Make-A-Wish Foundation of Ohio, Kentucky, and Indiana raised over 1 million dollars to support their mission to realize the dreams of those children with critical illnesses. Maddie is a young girl that is kind, compassionate, and wise beyond her years. To say that her future is bright would be an understatement. Watch out world, Maddie is going places.