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Madelyn

Madelyn

Inspiring her peers to help #CutTheBull

MadelynMadelyn was born 10 weeks early and without her left arm. She has had a lot to overcome, but has never let her disability slow her down. Instead, Madelyn uses her disability as a platform to educate others on the value of being different. With the help of Shriners Hospitals for Children she has shared her story with hundreds of people, hoping to provide a new perspective and inspire them to start a conversation about bullying.

As a Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis patient, Madelyn had a built-in support system of physicians, therapists, nurses, staff and fellow patients who became like family to her. They instilled courage and confidence in Madelyn and helped her realize anything was possible, even with one arm. Madelyn learned to play sports, became an avid swimmer, joined a water polo team and started outreach programs to help others who are missing limbs. She posts videos to help others with disabilities master daily tasks like tying shoes, making a pony tail and even jumping rope.

When Madelyn started school, she realized not everyone was lucky enough to have so much support. Her classmates did not know how to react to someone who did things differently. That is when she knew she had an opportunity to educate people and make a positive difference.

For the last six years, Madelyn has taken time to talk with students of all grade levels at St. Louis area schools during Ability Awareness Week. Her goal is to start the conversation about bullying at a young age so no one grows up thinking bullying is acceptable. She teaches kids that being different is a gift, not a reason to be ridiculed or harassed. She initiates a discussion about how all people are unique and special, telling students that some differences are obvious and some are not. Her message is that everyone has something that makes them different so we should always try to be accepting of one another.

Now Madelyn is taking her anti-bullying program one step further. She worked with staff members at Shriners Hospitals for Children — St. Louis to develop an anti-bullying tool kit. The tool kit is full of resources that patients, parents and the public can use to learn how to talk about bullying.

Become an anti-bullying ambassador like Madelyn. Download your #CutTheBull tool kit: (English version) (Spanish version)