Meet Madison Cavanaugh
Each hole now represents what my successful cancer treatment afforded me - the opportunity to aim high for my life, celebrate my healthy body, and make a positive impact on the lives of those around me.
For the next three years, a round circle of silicone, thinly wrapped in metal, sat inside my chest. It became my lifeline. As a pediatric patient, each poke represented another needle, port access or blood transfusion. But now, as a young woman reflecting on life experiences and their deeper meaning, those holes mean so much more than that.
Each hole now represents what my successful cancer treatment afforded me – the opportunity to aim high for my life, celebrate my healthy body, and make a positive impact on the lives of those around me. That’s why I chose to make the most out of my high school experience. I excelled in school and was inducted into the National Honors Society, took my love for math and science to the next level and joined Mu Alpha Theta and Science Olympiad, led my competitive synchronized swim team as team captain, and perhaps most special to me, gave back to my community that gave so much to me.
Given that childhood cancer is a cause so close to my heart, I felt compelled to volunteer for Children’s Cancer Center, an organization that supported my family when I was a pediatric patient. Part of that meaningful experience was volunteering 120 hours for their SAILS program, helping provide educational support and mentorship to kids who went through what I went through. The other part was developing a project that would raise childhood cancer awareness within my community, something I’m very passionate about. I found a creative way to combine that passion with my love for synchronized swimming and started a fundraiser selling swim caps with gold ribbons, the international awareness symbol for childhood cancer. My efforts not only raised almost $2,000 to benefit Children’s Cancer Center but the 400 caps sold reached nearly 10 high schools seen across Pinellas County.
And now with college on the horizon, I’m setting my sights on my future that lies ahead. My goal for this upcoming year is to attend the University of Florida, with the dream of becoming an anesthesiologist one day. Forced into the medical community at such a young age, that life-changing experience has given me the desire to pursue a career to help care for patients in similar situations. I guess you could say it’s just one more gift the pokes in my port gave me.