Making a Difference for Maddie was started by St. Jean de Brebeuf and St. Thomas More student Maddison Babineau. Maddie was diagnosed with Ewing‘s Sacoma, a rare and aggressive form of bone cancer in 2003. The Make a Wish Foundation gave Maddie a wish. Instead of choosing a trip to Disney world or a $5,000 shopping spree, Maddie gave her wish to Free the Children to build a school in Kenya. She became known as "The Girl Who Gave Her Wish Away." When Maddie was sick at home or in the hospital she made jewellery to sell so that she could continue to support the community in Enelerai, Kenya, where her school was built.
After the school was built, she decided to try and build a well for the community. Maddie discovered that most of the students could not attend school because they had to walk many kilometres each day in search of drinking water for their families. The well would give the community a clean source of drinking water and allow the children to attend school. Within one week, through the Wishing Others Well campaign, the staff and students of St. Thomas More raised $10,000 to build Maddie‘s well. We presented Maddie with the cheque for Free the Children for $10,000 on April 17th, 2007 and she passed away on May 15th 2007 before her sixteenth birthday.
The mission of M.A.D. 4 Maddie is simple – to Make a Difference no matter how small, no matter what obstacles you are facing in your own life. The money goes to Free The Children because Maddie wanted children to help other children in the way that Mark and Craig Keilberger have and in the way that she was able to contribute. Our mission is to keep Maddison Babineau‘s memory and story alive by continuing the important and inspiring work that she began while suffering with cancer.
At St. Thomas More we have been able to fulfill our mission. Mainly through our participation in the annual M.A.D. 4 Maddie 5km walk/run, our school raised over $24,000 in two years for Free the Children on behalf of M.A.D. 4 Maddie. Maddie‘s mother Sharon has had the opportunity to speak to STM students on a number of occasions and Maddie‘s younger brother Derek attends St. Thomas More. Our dream is to be able to share Maddie‘s story with all seven of our high schools, and our elementary schools, so that if they too would like to Make A Difference and share in her incredible dream, they would be able to. Maddie Babineau was a student of both our Catholic elementary and secondary schools. Her short but inspiring life‘s work and witness has earned her national and provincial awards. Craig Keilberger includes Maddie in his speeches right after he speaks about Blessed Mother Teresa. Her life and her vision are something to be celebrated and promoted in our Catholic schools. With board support we could all Make A Difference for Maddie.
M.A.D. 4 Maddie was the recipient of the YMCA Peace Medal Award in 2010.