Maddie as a Baby image on Maddie Smiles Random Acts of Kindness

About Maddie

Madison blessed us with her life on earth for almost 20 years, and we want to remember the joy and love she brought into our lives on a daily basis. Her smile could light up a room and has brought so many people together, falling in love with her spirit. Madison was/ is our little angel God blessed us with! Even though she was non-verbal, she has changed lives just by amazing everyone around her with her smile, strength, and how she could inspire others.

Who We Are

Maddie Smiles is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading smiles by performing and encouraging random acts of kindness. We do this in honor of Maddie’s memory, reminding ourselves and others of the importance of kindness and the impact it can have on an individual as well as our local and global communities.

Our simple acts are our way of rekindling kindness and compassion in the world. A flower given to a stranger, a donated toy that makes a child smile, paying for someone’s morning coffee, these all contribute to a better, happier world.

We encourage you to make someone smile today, it just may motivate them to Pay it Forward. No matter how small the act, who knows what positive effect it can have on the world we live in.

Meet Maddie's Crew

Maddie’s Crew is comprised of dedicated individuals who know the value of working towards something positive. They know the power of uplifting, inspiring and spreading joy to others and look forward to seeing the continued impact their efforts have.

David Strauss

Managing Minion

Paula Strauss

Marketing Minion

Lacy Ross

Merriment Minion

Maddie as a Baby image on Maddie Smiles Random Acts of Kindness

Maddie's Story

Born with Spina Bifida and hydrocephalis, Maddie already had challenges. When she was 4 months old, I found her face down and unresponsive on my grandma’s couch. We started CPR and continued until medics arrived. When she arrived at the hospital, doctors didn’t think she would make it. After several weeks in the ICU at Riley Hospital, she proved them wrong. Maddie had a hypoxic brain injury and started having seizures, but she survived… our little miracle baby! She went a whole year without smiling. Then one day, she smiled a half smile which then turned into a whole smile! Later, her beautiful smile became her contagious laugh. Oh boy, when she laughed, she laughed and laughed! This girl would get tickled from her head all the way to her toes! She really knew how to light up a room! Strangers would see Maddie smiling and they would smile right back. She could make a whole room laugh too. You could tell in just that moment, she made a difference in their life. Even though Maddie didn’t have a regular vocabulary, she had no problems expressing herself. She was/is so amazing! Toughest person we have ever met!

Throughout the years, Maddie had some major ups and downs health wise, but she never gave up. She could fight through anything! In June 2013, Maddie aspirated and developed pneumonia while we were on vacation. She also developed a horrible infection in her lungs called pseudomonas that was resistant to antibiotics except one. We were in Physicians Regional ICU in SW Florida one day short of a month then thankfully flown back to Riley Hospital to be weaned off the ventilator. She was in Riley for an additional 2 1/2 weeks so we could learn how to take care of her new trach. We made it home from Florida thanks to generous donations from people in Florida, Georgia, Tennessee, Indiana, Illinois, California and the Charity Air Ambulance, Grace on Wings. We were so blessed with all the wonderful Dr’s, Nurses, and Respiratory Therapists that took such amazing care of her. Maddie’s story was played on news channels in Indiana and Florida.  Within 48 hours, people donated over $10,000 to fly her home in an Air Ambulance!!! She had touched hearts in many states!

Once we got back to Indiana, things were going well. Maddie was a lot more alert with her new trach, and that made us so glad to see her acting like her happy self again! We had missed her big smiles and belly laughs!

A year after we made it through that obstacle, the family decided to have a night out and listen to some live music. While we were out, we noticed Maddie had a look of pain on her face and she began crying which was not normal for her. She was a “tough cookie”! That night Maddie ended up in the hospital, because she kept having stomach pains. After several tests and scans, Doctor’s finally discovered Maddie’s bile duct was completely clogged with gall stones.  So the Dr. told us she would be having surgery to remove these gall stones. Most people can have this procedure done laproscopically which is a very small incision, but because of the scar tissue Maddie had in her abdomen from previous surgeries they had to actually open her up to get to the gall bladder.

During the procedure we were asked to sit in the surgery waiting room and they would call and update us on how things were going. We were also told they would keep her in the hospital overnight to keep an eye on her, but we could go home the day after.

Hours later and Maddie was still in surgery. We knew this wasn’t good. When we finally received a call from the O.R. we were informed that she had lost a lot of blood and they had to do chest compressions. Opening up her abdomen raised other problems. Because of the scar tissue, Maddie’s liver had been adhered to her abdominal wall causing it to tear when they opened her.

Doctor’s got the bleeding under control and closed her up, but they had to patch the liver and would have to reopen her in later days to remove the bandaging and drain the fluid.

However, once she got out of surgery the fluid was out of control and her belly kept getting bigger and bigger. Thankfully they gave her medicine so she didn’t seem to be in any pain. That night and the next day were just heart breaking.

The day after the surgery, Dr.’s decided they needed to get some of that fluid out ASAP. They didn’t even want to risk taking her to the O.R. so they just did the procedure in the ICU room. We had to wait in the waiting room. After waiting, we had a Dr. come down to get us. After that we were put in a quiet room instead of getting to go in to see Maddie right away. That’s when they told us that her intestines were dead.

We lost our precious Maddie that day. June 29th 2014 replays in our minds like a horrible repeating nightmare.

Through our grief counseling, we have learned a lot about the process and ways to get through it the best that we can. And we have found that doing acts of kindness is our way!

In honor of  our Maddie we are asking people to join us in making the world a happier and loving place by doing acts of kindness!

We would love for you to share your stories and/or photos of your act of kindness with us!.

Please join Team Maddie and help us spread Maddie smiles!! 🙂

Your donation brings a little more kindness to the world