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Miles for Maddie
RUMFORD- Silver Varnum and Missy Hammond (St. Cyr) grew up with one another and attended Meroby Elementary School until the fifth grade when Missy’s dad was relocated out of state and the family packed up and had to leave. Over the years they have managed to keep in touch with one another and even visit during Hammond’s annual summer visit with her parents, Richard and Dona St. Cyr, in Rumford.
This years’ visit had a bit of a twist, Varnum was on a mission and needed his dear friend Missy and her husband, Matt’s blessing. You see, Varnum is a marathon runner and will be running the ING Hartford Marathon in October and wanted to raise money for the Hammond’s daughter, Maddie.
According to Maddie’s website, www.maddiejohammond.com, which her mom keeps updated for the benefit of family and friends wanting to keep in touch with them, Maddie was born in 2005 after Missy suffered a ruptured splenic artery aneurysm during her 33rd week of pregnancy.
Maddie had severe oxygen deprivation prior to being delivered, resulting in hypoxic ischemic encephalopathy (HIE). She was born without a heartbeat and spent days on a ventilator.
Maddie’s parents knew that she was a force to be reckoned with and chose to do whatever they could to save her life.
At five years old, Maddie was diagnosed with Quadriplegic Cerebral Palsy, Infantile spasms, GERD, severe Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH), severe osteoporosis, scoliosis of the spine, and has a G-J tube (feeding tube).
Maddie is very aware of her surroundings, but is non-verbal. She smiles and coos and enjoys her daddy’s loud yawns and is a huge fan of Dr. Phil.
There are two known survivors of HIE in the world, one being Maddie and the other girl, Kaia, of which, Maddie and her family were able to meet.
Over the years, the Hammonds have been in and out of the hospital with Maddie and spend approximately $4,000 each month for her breathing treatments alone.
Varnum wanted to help in any way he could to alleviate their costs or to help better equip their home with an elevator to get Maddie around.
“It’s becoming more difficult to get Maddie up and down the stairs,” noted Missy. “The older she gets, the heavier she is and it’s beginning to pose a real challenge for me to care for her the way I always have.”
Varnum works as a union lineman out of state and began running to stay in shape and help pass the time while he was away from his wife, Angela, and daughter, Alexis. This will be Varnum’s fourth marathon.
“I know they’re proud people, I just want to do this for them. You know, to raise as much as I possibly can to help this great family with their expenses. I’ve been planning to do this for a couple years, now, but it just didn’t feel like the right time. I wanted their blessing to do this, it worked out good.”
Varnum understands that it’s a tough economy right now, but feels as though Missy and her family are still members of the River Valley.
“The River Valley comes together all the time to help one of our own and I don’t think they’re going to let this family down either. Any donation will be appreciated.”
The Varnum family has been collecting bags of bottles to donate and they have a cuss can in their home. “We didn’t want to spend the money on ourselves, so we’re going to donate it to Miles for Maddie,” noted Varnum.
“I wouldn’t be able to do any of this without Ang and Lex. They keep me grounded and support me no matter what.”
Matt and Missy Hammond aren’t asking people to feel bad for them, as Missy stated, “It’s something we have to do as part of our everyday life, just like you have to care for your children. We have a great circle of friends and feel very supported.”
Matt mentioned, “We are living the life we were dealt. While everyone else runs their kids to and from baseball and other sports, we have to make trips to therapy sessions. We treat Maddie just like any other kid. She’s a wonderful daughter.”
If you would like to donate to Miles for Maddie, there is an account set up at Oxford Federal Credit Union and if you want to follow Silver’s marathon progress, visit www.hartfordmarathon.com and enter bib number R-0218WJ7Z.