Brookfield girl who fought cancer as a baby is this year's MACC Star
Stephanie Graham, Carole Meekins
Photo: Video by tmj4.com
BROOKFIELD - Maggie Conlon is a happy, energetic, 10-year-old girl.
Her mom Helen says, "She wakes up excited, she wakes up ready to embrace life, and she sets the tone."
She may be small in stature, but she's a force to be reckoned with on the soccer field--kicking and driving her way to the goal--with her family on the sidelines.
Their toughest battle wasn't was far from the soccer field. It was more than 10 years ago, on the day Maggie was born.
Her father Eric recalls, "She came out of the birth canal with her tongue protruding out of her mouth, so there's a panic in the room."
Doctors soon discovered it was a rare form of childhood cancer called Rhabdomyosarcoma.
"And I said what is that, and he said, ''It's cancer,' and uh, wow. Here's a 5-week-old kid, unbeknownst to anybody, is gonna be battling for life," Eric says.
Instead of bringing their baby home, Eric and Helen basically lived at the hospital, while raising their other young daughter Catie.
"When we were in the throws of it, we realized, 'You know what, Maggie does have cancer, but cancer doesn't have us,'" Helen asserts.
Maggie showed early signs of the same tenacity she has on the soccer field.
"Maggie, lots of times would get days of chemotherapy and wouldn't throw up, wouldn't get sick. She just, keep chugging along," Eric says.
"I see pictures and stuff, and I'm like, 'That's me, hooked up to the IV pole, taking my chemo,'" Maggie says.
Her parents,believe it or not, feel blessed she had the cancer so young. Eric explains, "She didn't have the emotional aspect of fighting cancer as most kids do. So that played to her advantage big time I think."
It was a long battle, but Maggie won the fight. Today she is healthy, and giving back to others as this year's MACC Star!
"I really love art, and it's, I guess I'm sort of good at it," Maggie says shyly.
Maggie's slogan: 'Helping Chill Out Cancer'. All proceeds from MACC Star's sold go towards Childhood Cancer research. "I want to help the MACC Fund, in trying to raise the amount of money to find different cures for the cancer," she says.
Maggie may be tough, but her big sister Catie is still very protective.
"I'm really cautious about what she does. My parents are always like 'Oh no, she's fine.' I'm like, 'I don't want her to get hurt.' I'm just really protective of her because I want her to be OK," Catie explains.
As this Brookfield family enjoys soccer together, it's the game of life they truly feel grateful to play.
"It's given us an opportunity to be very intentional about what we say yes to, and when we were in the throws of Maggie's chemo battle, we just kept hoping and wishing and praying that if we were granted a full life, that we would live it outside of the hospital, and we just appreciate all of the simple things that we're able to do," Helen says.
You can buy a MACC Star ornament and help kids with cancer. It's $10 at Sendik's stores and other outlets. Join us Saturday December 15th for the Annual Sports Auction 4 MACC.