Madeline's Mission encourages organ donation - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Madeline's Mission encourages organ donation

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By Wainwright Jeffers - bio | email

January 14, 2008

LEE COUNTY, GA (WALB) - The loss of a child is one of the most difficult things a parent can go through, but south Georgia couple is using the loss of their daughter to help other sick children.

Landon and Amanda Wildes' daughter died last July after she contracted meningitis.

The donated organs saved three people.

Madeline's liver went to a 4-year-old boy, her heart to a little boy who is now 11-months-old, and kidneys to a woman in New York.

"It was something very hard for us to go through as a couple, Madeline was a very healthy baby, a joy to have around," said Amanda Wildes.

Not only did they donate her organs, they started a program in her honor to help young transplant recipients.

It's called Madeline's Mission, and it kicked off Monday night.

Madeline's mission raises money to buy teddy bears for transplant patients at Egleston Children's Hospital, Phobe Putney Hospital and Sumter Regional Hospital.

Selling bears, t-shirts, and cut-outs will help raise the money to buy the bears.

Family Friend Kristin Pierce had another friend who also lost a child.  She helped the Wildes start Madeline's Mission. 

"It had an impact on me and when this happened to Madeline I know her life could affect so many more than just the people she donated the organs too," said Kristin Pierce Madeline's Mission co-organizer.

Thanks to Madeline three other people are now alive.

Her parents say though dealing with their infant's death is hard, giving other children a simple bear is gratifying.

"That will be a difficult thing but it'll also be a very big blessing to us to be able to go and help other children and put a smile on their face," said Amanda Wildes.

This couple's gesture started a project that indeed honors the life of their daughter, and in the next few months will continue to touch others.

This Saturday would have been Madeline's first birthday.

The fundraising campaign ends on February 14th, then organizers will buy and donate the bears.

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