By Starrla Cray
HOWARD LAKE, MN Madeline “Maddi” Teske is a sweet, smiley little girl who has brought great joy to her family since she was born.
She loves dressing up like a princess, wearing pretty jewelry, and playing with dolls. And she always gets excited when there’s pizza or pasta on the menu for dinner.
When Maddi turns 4 years old Monday, Sept. 3, her birthday wishes will likely go far beyond presents and treats, though.
Maddi has been battling acute lymphoblastic leukemia (a type of cancer of the blood and bone marrow that affects white blood cells) for the past two years.
Her parents, Brock and Laura Teske, first had an indication that something wasn’t right after finding some bruises on Maddi. At first, they assumed she had just gotten hurt on the playground, but then, Maddi got a cut on her chin that wouldn’t stop bleeding.
They took her to the local clinic, but doctors there decided Maddi needed specialty care, and she was sent to Children’s hospital in Minneapolis.
“She was diagnosed that same day [Aug. 26, 2016],” said Brock’s sister, Tammy.
Since then, Maddi’s life has been a whirlwind of costly and difficult procedures to rid her body of the disease. Each time, remission has been short, and the cancer has re-emerged.
In September, Maddi is planning to undergo her second bone marrow transplant. The donor will be her 6-year-old sister, Vivian, who also donated for the first transplant. The week before the procedure, Maddi will be undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments.
“Even through all this, she’s always been happy,” Tammy said, noting that those closest to Maddi have been in awe of her unwavering positive spirit, strength, and courage.
Maddi and her parents currently live in Mound, but they have many family members in the Cokato and Howard Lake area, including Maddi’s grandparents, Tom and Linda Teske, and her great-grandmother, Mary Lou Teske.
A benefit to help offset some of the financial burdens Brock and Laura have incurred during the past two years will take place at the Howard Lake Legion Saturday, Sept. 8. The event will start with a vendor fair and bake sale from 1 to 4 p.m. Later in the evening, from 4 to 6:30 p.m., there will be a spaghetti dinner, raffles, and a wine pull.
To donate online, CLICK HERE.