This year, more than 100 kids are riding in the Courage Classic, including former and current patients, along with their siblings, family and friends. Almost half of Team Madelyn is made up of children. We are so inspired to see kids helping other kids, as future generations learn what it means to give back and be a part of a larger community.
“If we can continue to have lots of kids do just a little, we can really make a big difference and even save lives,” said 8-year-old Jayce. Jayce is the youngest cyclist on Team Madelyn that is set to ride in the 2017 Courage Classic benefiting Children’s Hospital Colorado.
Team Madelyn united three years ago to support 9-year-old Madelyn, who has a long history with Children’s Colorado. The team began with three adults, but now consists of five families, including 15 team members, seven of whom are kids, all close friends and family of Madelyn. The youngest team members continue to show that the impact, joy and reward of helping others is not restricted by age.
When she was one year old, Madelyn received Flight for Life transportation to Children’s Colorado from her small town of Otis, Colo. – nearly 130 miles from Children’s Colorado at the easternmost part of the state - because of life-threatening enlarged veins in her spleen, throat and stomach. After a series of tests and treatments, she was diagnosed with Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT), a condition in which blood clots form and can be particularly dangerous if one breaks free and travels to the lungs. Madelyn’s blood clot formed in the portal vein of her liver. DVT is very uncommon among children and the cause of Madelyn’s condition remains unknown, yielding an unpredictable health journey. Madelyn’s parents are so grateful to have Children’s Colorado guiding them along their journey, as well as the friends who have come together to support them.
Over the past two years, the kids on Team Madelyn have elevated the cycling crew to a new level.
“I'm not sure there's anything more inspiring than watching an incredible group of kids fundraise, train and ride for other kids at Children's Colorado,” said Krystal Ballah, Jayce’s mom.
Jayce and his sister, Kylee, 10, send out regular fundraising letters to family and friends with updates about Team Madelyn. Last fall, they started a sugar cookie business called “Kookie Fairy” to benefit Children’s Colorado. The “Kookies for Courage” feature an airbrushed Balloon Boy logo. Since October, they, along with other kids on the team, have baked and sold more than 4,000 cookies in their little town and its surrounding communities.
Madelyn also designed and sold team T-shirts. Altogether, they have raised nearly $6,000 this year, with additional bake sales and fundraising underway.
This year’s Courage Classic is a milestone for Madelyn because she is well enough to ride for the second time. Courage Classic is also particularly special for Jayce, who was diagnosed with Anhidrosis, or the inability to sweat, at 18 months old. He recently went to Children’s Colorado with repeated symptoms of weakness, overheating and migraines. Children’s Colorado helped the family rule out other concerns and better manage his symptoms.
Although Jayce cannot play sports, he is able to cycle with repeated breaks, cooler mountain weather, and lots of hydration, making Courage Classic his big athletic event of the year.
“There are always tears of joy at the finish line,” Krystal said laughing.
She believes that you never know when you might need Children’s Colorado, and when you do, it affects your life in such a profound way that you can’t help but be inspired to support the excellent care patients and families receive.
“Children’s Colorado has been so special to our family, Madelyn and her family, and communities all across Colorado,” said Krystal.
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