Donia Madison “Maddy” Grayless from Longmont, Colorado, passed away on June 16, just two weeks after doctors diagnosed her with terminal bone cancer, reports KUSA.
Around the end of March, Maddy came home from school and complained of knee pain to her mother, Jessica Grayless, after getting hurt on a playground slide.
“I looked at it, I didn’t see any bruising,” said Mrs Grayless, according to KUSA. “I didn’t see a scratch. I didn’t think much of it, and she was walking on it fine, so I didn’t think a lot about it. And about a week later, she started limping and complaining that it was a little bit more sore.”
On June 1, Maddy was taken to Children’s Hospital Colorado in Aurora after experiencing a fever and nose bleeding. The following day, she was diagnosed with terminal bone cancer.
When Maddy learned of her condition and its outlook, she told her mother of her hopes and wishes in her remaining time.
“’Mom, I just want people to know I made a difference,’” said Maddy to her mother, according to the Longmont Times-Call.
Stephanie Keesling, a family friend, took heed to Maddy’s comment, and created a Facebook page called “Maddy’s Mighty Minions," reports the New York Daily News.
“(We) would like to invite all of you to do kind acts of service for others and post your pictures and stories of that service here to give comfort to Maddy’s family and help her wish to continue!” reads part of the Facebook page’s description.
Maddy’s story reached and inspired people worldwide, who often post their acts of kindness on the Facebook page. The hashtag #MaddysMightyMinions was also created, which helped her story spread through many social media platforms.
“There are articles about Maddy in the U.K., in the Daily Mail, in the Longmont Times-Call, even in People magazine … all over the world,” said Maddy’s father Brian Grayless, according to the Daily Camera.
“We were able to show her, while she was still [healthy] enough to watch, what people are doing with her name," Mrs Grayless said, according to Today.com. “It was a help during that time, because it helped her to know that that wish wasn’t going to be unfulfilled.”
Friends and family shared their stories of Maddy and the impact she left on them at her memorial service on June 20, The Daily Camera reports.
“As hard as this has been, I would do it all over again,” Mrs Grayless said. “I am so grateful for the almost nine years we got with this sweet girl.”