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Title image - BAI takes you to: Mt.Elbrus
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Elbrus Expedition Dispatch

July 21, 2008 – Special Dispatch: "A Mountain for Maddie"

Paul Lamb is stepping off of the midnight train in Russia on route to his climb ‘Mountain for Maddie’

Paul Lamb is stepping off of the midnight train in Russia on route to his climb ‘Mountain for Maddie’

It has been over 3 year since we, a group of unknowns, climbed the 19,349 ft high Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania Africa. This climb was in aid of ALS Research with Berg Adventures. Click here for more detailed journal of this ‘Climb for a Cure’.

Since then a lot has happened. When we returned, my fellow climber, Sharon Babineau’s 12 year old daughter was diagnosed with Ewing’s Sarcoma, an aggressive bone cancer.

Story of Maddie

Who says one person can't make a difference? When Maddison was born her father was dying of ALS. MaddieShe helped care for him; feeding, fetching and most importantly making him laugh. When he was voiceless, she made his eyes smile. She also helped with her little brother while bravely managing her own childhood. At age 6 her Dad died.

At age 12 Maddison was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer, Ewings Sacroma. She underwent 11 months of chemotherapy, surgery and weeks of daily radiation.

A highlight in the midst of this extremely difficult time - Maddison was given a wish from the Children’s Wish Foundation - anything she wanted. Maddison said no thanks to a Disney cruise for herself, her brother Derek and her mom, Sharon. No thanks to the $5,000 shopping spree. No thanks to the giant plasma screen TV. Maddie wanted to make a wish with meaning, one that would last. While watching TV during her frequent hospital stays, Maddison learned of the plight of children in Africa who live in severe poverty. She then decided to use her wish to make a difference and build a school there.

At the age of 15, the cancer was back. While undergoing chemotherapy again, a stem cell transplant at Sick Kids, and surgery, Maddie decided on another project. She started buying and selling jewelry on ebay from of her hospital bed to raise additional money for a water well to go with her school in Africa. She did this under the most incredible conditions; her treatment was so harsh. Maddie, continuing to sell jewelry out of her hospital room at Hamilton Health Sciences Children's Hospital at McMaster, fighting ongoing nausea, with hardly any energy and on constant pain medication to get through. She had not eaten anything for more than two months as the chemotherapy had burned her digestive tract and she couldn't swallow. She was fed by IV and a G-tube in her stomach. Incredibly, during this Maddie time she worried about others and used her precious energy to help and inspire others.

Devastated with the news that the cancer returned for the third time, Maddie courageously upped her goal to build a whole village in Africa. Support has been incredible around the world and tens of thousands have now been raised.

When she began selling jewelry; to nurses, friends and others in the community, she created MAD, an acronym for ‘making a difference’ and the first three letters of her name.

MAD has since taken on even more projects, and it was Maddie's hope that through her fundraising efforts, she would raise money for school supplies, teachers, books and more for the school in Africa. The $6,000 for the well is already on its way to Africa.

One hundred percent of the profits from the jewelry sales went to ‘Free the Children’ a non- profit organization of children helping children.

Through them Maddie’s wish will become a reality.

How can someone not be inspired by such a great individual?

My dream is to continue to help with Maddie’s dream. This is ‘A Mountain for Maddie’. I will be climbing to the top of Europe’s highest mountain, Mt. Elbrus. Mt. Elbrus is 18,841 feet of cold climbing over glaciers that have existed since the ice age. We will be using ice axe, crampons, and ropes to assist our way to the summit of this amazing mountain.

I think it will be easy because I will be climbing for Maddie. I will be climbing to bring her inspiration to others; to tell her story; to help make people aware of this little girl did so much in so little time. My message will be: We have a lot of time to make a difference, taking it upon ourselves and we should.

You can request jewelry for the MAD project or follow Maddie’s journey at

If you would like to donate, please visit: