Being a part of a team means more than simply putting on a uniform. Every cheerleader knows that a team means having others there to support you on and off the sidelines. It is a bond that gives individuals the chance to build on each other to achieve a common goal. For one young Monroe cheerleader, the word “team” has its own special meaning.
At age 8, Madison Smallwood was diagnosed with a type of bone cancer called Osteosarcoma. This news may have sidelined her from cheering but it was not going to beat her. Madison was ready to battle her cancer and she was not going to have to do it alone. The Monroe Wee Hornet cheerleaders stepped in immediately to support their teammate as she prepared to fight this disease. As a result, Team Madison was created with a purpose of supporting Madison and her family. Madison’s squad proudly wore blue and gold Childhood Cancer Awareness hair ribbons with a pink M for their teammate. They even had a large Team Madison banner printed and hung at every game so that Madison could be present in some way. The few times Madison was able attend, her teammates stayed by her side the whole game.
Team Madison not only extended to her cheer squad but also the entire Monroe Pee Wee program. When another child in the community was diagnosed with cancer, the support for Childhood Cancer Awareness gained even more momentum. From football players painting gold childhood cancer awareness ribbons on helmets, to fundraisers and gift baskets, the Monroe community joined Madison’s Team wholeheartedly. Even opposing teams joined the fundraising efforts with concession stand sales.
Through Team Madison’s kindness and support a difference was made in the life of a young girl who got dealt a difficult hand. Today Madison has entered a stage of remission and still enjoys cheering with her squad. With her team by her side, nothing can stand in her way.