When Maddy and her twin sister, Morgan, were born, the Flaherty family knew their lives would never be the same, but they had no idea just how many lives their family would impact.
After the twins were born, the Flahertys noticed that Maddy was not hitting the same milestones as her sister. Doctors soon discovered she had severe hearing loss along with a skull deformity and diagnosed her with cerebral palsy. Although Maddy’s challenges were great, her family was always thankful for the compassionate care they received at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer Hospital for Children.
On September 11, 2014, Maddy was admitted to the hospital. Although receiving expert care, her internal organs began to shut down one by one. After a week of fighting, Maddy passed away three months before her fifth birthday. Doctors later discovered Maddy had also been suffering from a rare neurodegenerative disorder called Cockayne’s syndrome.
In the wake of their loss, the Flahertys found purpose in helping children like Maddy who face similar challenges. Today, Maddy’s legacy lives on through Maddy’s Mission to Help, a foundation founded by the Flaherty family to support children with physical and cognitive disabilities.
Thanks to their generosity, Maddy’s Mission has made a five-year pledge of $125,000 to support the needs of the Rehabilitation Services at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer.
One of the initiatives their gift will support is the Augmented and Alternative Communication (AAC) Lending Library. Currently, the team at Orlando Health Arnold Palmer is caring for a young patient with a progressive muscular disease. The disease has limited the patient’s vision and ability to interact with her surrounding environment. Despite the obstacles, she laughs, plays and communicates through toys she can hear and touch. Thanks to the resources of the AAC Lending Library, the rehabilitation team can now improve children’s lives through interactive play and creative communication.
To continue this important mission into the future, Maddy’s Mission hosts an annual Pro-Am golf tournament in Maddy’s honor. This year marked the tournament’s 8th anniversary and raised nearly $100,000 to support local charities including Orlando Health Arnold Palmer. Every dollar raised at the tournament goes to helping improve the quality of life for children who need it most.