By LINDSAY MAYNARD
Identical twin Madeline Rigsby’s life has been saved by the funds of Children’s Miracle
Network after she was diagnosed at birth with pulmonary stenosis, a condition that left her with a hole in her heart.
Before the Rigsby twins were born on June 19, 2002, there were no signs that Madeline
was unhealthy. When she was one day old, her pediatrician detected a heart murmur and low-grade fever while doing a routine checkup. He decided to run an echocardiogram on her heart, which saved her life and detected this uncommon condition.
“Madeline was a fighter from day one,” said Madeline’s mother Jennifer Rigsby. She was
rushed to the Medical College of Georgia where she underwent emergency open heart surgery. The doctor told us she had a 10 percent chance of survival. I knew this meant she most likely wouldn’t survive, but we trusted God to take care of her.”
Although Rigsby flatlined during surgery, her doctors were able to save her life, and
after nine weeks in the hospital, she was able to go home. This surgery was the first of eight surgeries she has faced since she was born. The Rigsby family has been blessed over the years by the funds and support that organizations such as Children’s Miracle Network generate.
This organization creates medical equipment that is essential for saving the lives of children around the country. When Rigsby was 5 years old, she had another open heart
surgery to replace a pad that she had outgrown from her first heart surgery. In addition to this procedure, she had two eye surgeries as well as dorsal rhizotomy surgery to relax the nerves in her back after she was diagnosed with cerebral palsy.
Rigsby’s cerebral palsy condition has prevented her from walking. The hope is that the dorsal rhizotomy surgery she underwent in June 2012 will allow her to walk without a
walker in the future. She wears braces on her legs that must be replaced two to three times a year as she grows. These braces can cost thousands of dollars, and with the help of Children’s Miracle Network, families such as the Rigsby family have hope that their children will someday walk on their own.
Children’s Miracle Network generates funds for the organization in many different ways. Some common ways funds are generated are through Miracle Balloon sales, radio fundraising broadcasts, golf tournaments, canister collections, and Dance Marathons.
On Feb. 16, Phi Mu, a sorority at Kennesaw State University, hosted a Dance Marathon
that raised more than $20,000 for Children’s Miracle Network. Rigsby’s older sister, Katherine Rigsby, was the president of KSU’s Dance Marathon.
“It was incredible to see all the people come out and support CMN through Dance Marathon. I was in the hospital every time Madeline went into surgery. I have seen
how the funds generated by this organization not only help the families financially, but emotionally as they push through this hard time in their lives,” said Katherine Rigsby.
Dance Marathons are hosted throughout the country on a regular basis. On March 2,
there will be a Dance Marathon in Atlanta to generate funds for Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. These funds will continue to help hundreds of children in Atlanta who cannot be treated in a normal hospital.
Rigsby is one child that will continue to fight for her life in the future. This April
she is scheduled to remove the metal plates that were placed in her hips last June to correct her deformed hips and legs. Her future will be filled with grueling therapy and several more surgeries, but she is determined to run like her twin sister, Elizabeth.
“After Madeline was born, a woman approached us in the hospital and told us she felt
compelled to give us a stone that said ‘never give up.’ That is now Madeline’s favorite saying. She always says ‘never ever’, so we believe she will never ever give up,” said Jennifer Rigsby.