DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – You can call her Madison the Magnificent for all she’s fought through over the last six months and managed to maintain a smile that lights up the room. Her mother says Madison became ill last September with Enterovirus D68. While she was fighting the disease, another condition began attacking her spinal cord. Madison has transverse myelitis; a neurological disorder caused by inflammation of the spinal cord. For Madison Grigsby, it’s taken away her ability to walk.
According to the National Institutes of Health, researchers are uncertain of the exact causes of transverse myelitis, but say the inflammation that damages the spinal nerve fibers, may result from viral infections or abnormal immune reactions.
“She’s so resilient and strong, and an inspiration to anyone who comes into contact with her,” said her mother, Erin Carey. Madison completes physical therapy sessions twice a week and her hard work is paying off.
“I am most proud of her for learning how to get out of her wheelchair and also getting out of the wheelchair into the car by herself,” said Julie Edelen, her physical therapist at Upper Valley Medical Center. “Our next goal is not moving from the chair to the floor, but eventually from the floor to the chair.”
Erin says everything about life is different now. They must carefully plan out their every move for the entire day, and there are lots of doctor appointments. Even navigating their home with the wheelchair is a challenge; their home is not set up to accommodate Madi’s mobility challenges. However, she says she’s just grateful to have her little girl.
“I think she’s made me stronger as a person,” said Erin. “It’s all about if you want to do something you can, and she’s shown me that more than anybody.”
Madison says she’s sad that she won’t walk again, but she encourages others to be strong. She also says don’t be afraid to ask questions if you see her out and about in her wheelchair. She is happy to tell you what happened.
While coping with so many challenges a child her age should never have to face, Madi loves most to talk about her cat, her friends and her favorite singer! “Taylor Swift. I love Taylor Swift,” beamed the nine year old. She said her favorite song is “Shake it Off”– a fitting theme song for a little girl who keeps pushing forward.