9-year-old Madeline Guarraia of East Lyme passed away peacefully in April after fighting a painful five-year battle with cancer. She leaves behind her parents Matthew and Amie, sister Julianne and brother Anthony. She is a child that has left an everlasting mark on the world. Her story of struggle and hardship has touched the hearts of many.
Madeline’s parents often gave updates on their daughter’s condition via Facebook, which eventually became widespread across the internet. They told of their constant struggle between good days and bad days. Despite this, they claimed Madeline had always remained positive.
Around Thanksgiving, the Guarraias decided to celebrate Christmas early so that their daughter could enjoy it before cancer took its course. Their daughter had battled cancer three different times and her parents admit they had “turned over every stone, to find something that could work, but there’s nothing else we could do now.” This idea slowly spread and soon many people around the community began decorating for Christmas in support of Madeline. A part of her Christmas wish was to collect toys for other children at Yale-New Haven Hospital, even in the midst of her own battle. The Guarraias report how touching the community support has been and how their situation is “a little easier knowing that there are so many people willing to do things.”
In the last few weeks, updates were made regarding Hospice and the gradual acceptance of what was to come. The parents kindly asked for privacy while they began the grieving process. The supporting community is not limited to Connecticut, and is, in fact, nationwide. The Guarraias’ facebook posts have gone viral, each with more and more support.
Amongst the surrounding communities, several events were held in order to raise money for Madeline’s medical expenses. Madeline passed away peacefully at home surrounded by all the people she loved so dearly. Mrs. Guarraia admits that Madeline had had a lifelong personal relationship with God, which may have made her transition that much more tranquil.
Madeline is remembered today as an honorary police officer with the Waterford Police Department and the founder of Animal Rescue Rangers. Her motto “ROAR” came from her love of tigers and is said to have also been motivation to fight and push through. But, aside from these two legacies, Madeline also leaves a sentiment of inspiration.
Samantha Barnes, Social Media Editor
Senior Samantha Barnes is the Social Media Editor of the 2015-2016 Colonel. She is the secretary of Student Congress and competitively horseback rides. She will attend Fairfield University to study Business next fall.