Eight years ago, Maddie Collins, now 13, was diagnosed with focal segmental glomerulosclerosis (FSGS)* – a rare disease that attacks the kidneys. She has faced an uphill battle ever since. Yet the young Cantabrian has maintained a positive attitude as she and her family try to raise $700,000 for a trip to Johns Hopkins Hospital in Baltimore, America.
After her body rejected a kidney donated by her father, Maddie has had to rely on a dialysis machine to keep her alive – spending up to 11 hours on the machine every day – as her disease has placed enormous pressure on her heart.
“The left-hand side of her heart is so swollen that, if it swells much more, it won't be able to pump blood,” says Maddie’s mother Sarah.
Forced to make regular visits to children’s hospital wards in Auckland and Christchurch, Maddie came up with a fundraising scheme that had the added benefit of making her fellow patients’ stay more colourful.
“She started making pillow slips for the other sick children at Starship and Christchurch Hospital,” says Sarah. “The slips are sold to raise funds for the trip, then donated to young patients so that they don’t have to be left with just a plain white pillow slip. Once they leave, they get to keep them.”
As well as helping to put a smile on other kids’ faces, it helps Maddie take her mind off what she’s going through. The only problem was that she had to do all of the hems and seams using only a sewing machine.
When Satan’s Little Helper heard, he knew just what to do and sent one of his minions south to deliver a Brother 2504D Overlocker.
Sarah says that with the overlocker, Maddie is able to make the pillow slips much faster than before and is now tracking nicely towards her goal of delivering 100 to patients at Starship Children's Hospital before Christmas.
“Since beginning the project, she’s sewn more than 600 pillow slips and they’ve ended up in countries as far away as Scotland, Finland and the Netherlands,” she says. “The overlocker has just made her life that little bit easier and we are so grateful to Satan's Little Helper for supporting Maddie in her vision of changing the world one pillowslip at a time!"
Maddie’s family have set up a Givealittle page, which you can donate to here: https://givealittle.co.nz/cause/givethegiftoflifetomaddie
*FSGS affects the kidneys by damaging the glomeruli, which are tiny filters that that clean blood cells, causing serious scarring that can lead to permanent kidney damage or failure.