FOXBOROUGH, Mass. – An 11-year-old girl named Maddie McCoy had a dream. The Hingham, Mass., native truly wanted to make a difference by helping others, and that’s how the nonprofit Maddie’s Promise was born.
Maddie herself was an energetic, optimistic, and courageous girl, who was fighting a rare form of pediatric cancer called rhabdomyosarcoma. While she was being driven to Dana-Farber Cancer Institute for treatment of her own, she expressed concern for the homeless people she noticed on the street. Maddie immediately wanted to support them and developed a plan to create artwork to raise funds for people who sincerely needed it.
However, as Maddie’s cancer progressed, she became sicker. The day Maddie planned to open her first stand to sell her artwork, it rained, delaying her plans. She unfortunately lost her battle with cancer before the first fundraising stand could open.
At only 11 years old, the impression Maddie made was impactful and everlasting. Although her life was lost too soon, Maddie’s contagiously positive and giving spirit lives on in her parents and friends, as they carried through with her beautiful, charitable vision by starting Maddie’s Promise.
Not only does Maddie’s Promise help the homeless, but it also raises money to support research for pediatric cancer, donating to studies that have a clear path for meaningful trials for childhood cancer. Maddie even left a detailed binder behind with plans for how to raise money for these vital causes.
“The whole thing was born out of the spirit of helping others, of giving back,” said Ann McCoy, Maddie’s mother. “We’ve brought the community together.
“It’s a message of giving back, helping others. It was something she always wanted. I love that message, but to me, I want to see progress made. We’ve really robbed kids of a chance to get better, to live, and that’s where my heart is, is helping other kids and other families not go through this.”
In addition to helping others, one of Maddie’s other passions was soccer. Before she passed, Maddie had an opportunity to meet her soccer idol, Sam Mewis, and also came to three New England Revolution matches to cheer on her local club.
On Saturday, September 25, the club will in turn cheer on Maddie, as her and Ann will be honored as the Kick Childhood Cancer game’s ‘Hero of the Match.’
“I think it’s incredible,” said McCoy. “She’d be amazed. We went to several games. She loved soccer. She was a great little soccer player. One of my favorite things was to watch her play soccer. We went to several games together and she really loved watching them.
“I think she’s going to be smiling on us. I think she’d be amazed that she’s the hero of the match. I think it’s fantastic. It makes me feel so honored and so grateful that she is remembered and loved by so many. I hope we can keep getting the message out that we need to do more for these kids. We really do.”
The Revolution roster will also have a special surprise before the game, as Maddie’s original artwork will be featured on cards left in each player’s locker.
“There’s one for all of the players. I hope it touches them, just a little,” said McCoy.
“We sell those cards, which are a favorite. Sweatshirts and t-shirts around town have also gone crazy.”
These card packs and the Maddie’s Promise apparel that is available for purchase have a whole deeper meaning behind them.
“I love the card packs,” said McCoy. “I don’t think she ever knew she was leaving these behind. I think Maddie really thought she could beat this, she was going to beat this until the very end. To me, she left us this wisdom."
Each piece of artwork on the card is special, and was handcrafted by Maddie, allowing her legacy to live on as her promise to make a difference.
“This is my very favorite,” McCoy said as she shared a card with a special sentiment. “It’s a message that says ‘Be the change in life.’ This was Maddie. This one is my favorite because I think ‘what made her say that?’ I always think that was her message to me, to us. She didn’t know she was leaving it.
“All the cards have her handwriting in some form and on the back there’s a little bit more about Maddie, who she was, and how she promised to help the world in her own way."
You can help honor Maddie’s Promise by visiting https://www.maddiespromise.org/ for more information, to purchase card packs and apparel, or to donate.