(FOX 2) - In April of 2017, the lives of Scott and Pamela Kramer changed forever. That was the month their 2-year-old daughter, Maddie, was diagnosed with a rare spinal tumor.
Sadly, Maddie lost her battle with cancer, but during her short life, she created a lasting legacy her parents are determined to share.
“Those days and weeks after a child is diagnosed with cancer are an absolute nightmare, so we really were just very much effected emotionally. But what carried us through and what made us okay and got through each day was Maddie,” Pamela said.
“Even with her adorable, bald, chemo head, you couldn't cry. You couldn't feel anger. You couldn't feel sad because her smile lit up a room. And that’s what carried us through. Watching her smile take her through the worst times,” Scott said.
Maddie’s journey inspired her parents to create “Dancing While Cancering”, an organization that helps comfort little patients and their families during the most difficult time. The created smile packs to help newly diagnosed pediatric patients transform their hospital rooms and bring smiles to their little faces.
“What makes childhood so amazing is that even through the worst of it all, kids really are still just kids and Maddie battled her cancer with the power of imagination, singing and dancing and the beauty of our smile packs is giving that same gift back to other patients and families,” Scott said.
Each pack includes room decorations, musical instruments and a wireless speaker.
Nancy Tena who is a clinical nurse specialist at Ann Arbor’s Mott Children’s Hospital is often with patients and their families when they are first diagnosed.
“Getting these back packs is going to be really cool for them because a lot of times we give things to the parents to learn understand, but we don’t often give things to the kids and this is going to help them feel special and uplift them,” Nancy said.
The Kramers, who met when they attended U of M, no live in Chicago, but always hoped to bring Maddie to the city where they fell in love.
By partnering with Mott Children’s Hospital, they feel, in a way, they still are. They hope by offering smile packs to kids fighting cancer will help remind them they are still kids, even during the darkest times.
By donating to Dancing While Cancering, they hope other people will do the same.
“Know when you are, you are helping a child stay a child when they need it the most,” Scott said.
If you want to find out more information about Dancing While Cancering, click here.