At age eight, Madison Smallwood had just gotten home from a family vacation only to have her world turned upside down. Doctors diagnosed her with stage 4 osteosarcoma. She began months of treatment, endured many procedures and was admitted for several hospital stays. During this time in her life when she should have been cheering with her team, playing on playgrounds and having sleepovers with her friends, Madison was fighting for her life – something no child should ever have to face.

When interviewing Madison, she wanted to share different parts of her journey and, in a way, educate others. She explained that, while going through treatment, she would turn on Ellen. The humor, dancing and funny games that Ellen includes in her daily lineup helped Madison through some of the most difficult moments in her young life. When sitting down to put her story together, we couldn’t find a better way to honor Madison’s wishes than by writing about our hero being interviewed by one of her very own heroes. The following story takes place in the future – well, in our own imaginary future. This is our way of trying to make her wish to meet Ellen come true.

Our goal with sharing Madison’s Message is not only to tell the story of a brave girl, but to also spread awareness about how little funding there is for childhood cancer research. We hope that, when you read this story and look into the sparkling eyes of Madison’s character, you see her spirited personality shining through and listen to her inspiring message.




A little girl with a big message.