This week nine-year-old Madeleine Murray of Saanich lays in a Florida hospital bed with a pair of pink boxing gloves at her side.
She’s hoping to get out of the intensive care unit for Christmas.
The boxing gloves represent her last five weeks and were given to Madeleine from the St. Mary’s Medical Center of Palm Beach, where she’s been in ICU since major surgery on Nov. 22 to fuse her spine and correct other issues related to a collapsed neck, caused by a rare case of arthrogryposis and a curvature of the spine.
Madeleine is known by many in the hospital as the Christmas miracle, her father Dan said.
“Her deformity in her back had much risk in correcting,” he said. “We knew to do such a complex surgery there could be risks, the obvious one… paralysis.”
But there were other risks, particularly with her lungs.
Due to the collapsed neck Madeleine suffered in June 2016, her lungs had been under extra pressure after surgeries at home. Following the Nov. 22 surgery, one of Madeleine’s lungs collapsed and she had the fight of her life, Dan said.
“Many had come running to her bedside and rushed her down the hallway, we did not know how it was going to go. She came back in the afternoon and had the battle of her life. We took it hour by hour and never left her side.”
Five weeks later, she now has a chance to make it into the local Quantum House for Christmas, a supportive home for families of sick kids receiving treatment for critical issues in Palm Beach County.
Not only did the St. Mary’s Medical Center CEO visit to check up on Madeleine, so did Santa, Dan said.
“The boxing gloves seemed so fitting for her as she made it 12 rounds and is standing over her medical challenges that lay before her on the canvass.
Despite the situation Dan says the Murray family considers this their best holiday season yet.
Prior to her initial surgery in Florida’s Paley Institute in October, Madeleine had already had 10 surgeries in her young life. Four of them were unsuccessful, as she lacks the ability to recover from surgery in ways other children can.
The latest chapter of Madeleine’s story started when, after the extendable rods placed into her neck and back did not repair her curvature of the neck, they were removed in June. Her neck immediately collapsed, reducing her quality of life and self esteem, and severely threatening her future. Her parents re-mortgaged the house and cashed in their life insurance policies to purchase the surgery at the Paley Institute and have since raised $257,000 (including a $125,000 loan from a family close to them) towards the $500,000 they expect the surgery and rehabilitation to cost. To make a donation, visit https://www.gofundme.com/MadeleinesSurgery.