Madeline Pilon

Madeline Pilon

March 9, 2003 - July 25, 2011

  • Hometown: Calgary, Alberta
  • Year of Diagnosis: 2008
  • Diagnosis: Anaplastic Ependymoma Brain Tumor

Madeline was a beautiful 8-year-old girl who touched the lives of everyone who was fortunate enough to meet her during her all too short time with us. She was a caring and gentle soul who loved her family and friends more than anything. She was very energetic and loved being outside, playing at the park, camping, swimming, riding her bike, and most of all dancing.

When Maddie was just 5 years old, after many weeks of vomiting and being unwell, she was diagnosed with an anaplastic ependymoma brain tumor. She had immediate brain surgery to remove the tumor followed by six weeks of intense radiation. Afterwards, we believed Maddie was one of the lucky ones, as her cancer was gone, she was healthy and had almost no side effects.

We were lucky- lucky to be able to have three more wonderful years with Maddie. Maddie started school and jazz, spent lot’s of time with family, played with her friends, travelled to Disneyworld, Ontario, BC, and Saskatchewan, met new friends through cancer camps, and got a new trailer and spent much time camping. Most importantly of all, Maddie welcomed her baby brother into the world in March of 2011. She was the best big sister in the whole world and loved her brother to China and back!

For 3 years almost to the day, Maddie was happy, healthy, and rarely even had a cold. In May of 2011, Madeline’s previous symptoms returned. Within 2 days she was back in oncology and the doctors discovered that her tumor had relapsed with a vengeance, and metastasized throughout her whole brain and spine. The tumor was inoperable and we were not given much hope, but we weren’t going to give up with out a fight! We decided to try a clinical trial and soon started treatment, but we were also very conscious of Maddie’s quality of life. If she didn’t have much time left, we wanted to make sure that she had as many good quality and meaningful days as she could. We started each and every day by asking Maddie what she wanted to do that day and whatever she wanted was what we did. We got her hair colored pink and purple, went shopping, went to West Edmonton mall, went to the zoo, went to the science center, and we even took a trip to Mexico for a week because Maddie wanted to see the ocean. It was an amazing and memorable trip, and one week after we returned home Maddie collapsed and was admitted to the hospital. The chemo had done nothing to stop the tumor and we decided it was enough. Madeline was a very brave and strong little girl who fought as hard as she could for 4 more weeks without ever complaining. Finally her little body grew tired and she earned her angel’s wings on July 25, 2011.  Her beautiful brown eyes, wonderful smile, and love for life will be missed and loved always!


Our Featured Ambassador

This is Josh Nelson – a childhood cancer survivor. He knows about facing all the challenges of childhood cancer:

“I know first-hand how it feels to be a prisoner in the hospital and endure the surgeries and the endless needles and treatments. I know how it feels to lose my hair, throw up regularly and watch other kids around me earn their wings. I lost a part of my childhood that I will never get back. I know how it feels to look different and to be different. That’s something that I wouldn’t wish for any other kid to go through, and that is why I do what I do.”

Read more about Josh’s journey »

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