Maddy Aldridge attends WLM Taekwondo Club. A healthy nine-year-old, she’s energetic and keen to learn.
Three years before Maddy joined the club in 2014, she was diagnosed with Aplastic Anemia. Ultimately, it meant that Maddy’s bone marrow had failed to make all of her blood products. Her parents were told a bone marrow transplant was essential to her recovery.
Though Maddy is like any other girl her age today, she’s shown exceptional strength, and a truly inspirational resilience to get to where she is.
Following weekly treatment and countless blood transfusions, she began 10 days of extremely intense chemotherapy. On the 5th of August 2013, Maddy underwent her transfusion. Her younger sister, Darby, donated the bone marrow.
She then spent 11 long weeks in recovery at Manchester Royal Hospital before she was permitted to go home.
Despite the unbelievably tough experience, and as well as bouts of anorexia and weakness on the long and bumpy road to a full recovery, Maddy is now fit and healthy.
Maddy’s older sister trains and competes in Sport Taekwondo, Maddy gave the art and sport a try in February 2013.
Her Instructors, Peter and Lisa Hadfield, Maria and John Reynolds have provided great support for Maddy.
“As well as displaying a real affinity with Taekwondo, Maddy’s strength has been an inspiration to us,” says Lisa Hadfield.
“She tried doing Taekwondo before the chemo, but could not get through the warm up. She was not well at all.
“It was of course, a really difficult time for her mum, who also has three other children.”
Never one to quit, Maddy fought through her entire recovery, and today, she’s full of energy!
“We are all so proud of her,” continues Lisa, “she trains several times per week and is even due to compete in May.
“We are very very protective of Maddy, continually keeping in mind all she has gone through – but she is so keen and eager to get in the ring!
“She’s an inspiration to all at WLM TAEKWONDO. She’s come so far.”
Her muscle tone, once lost completely, is back with a vengeance and she looks forward to her debut performance at the NTC tournament in May.
“I can’t believe how much Maddy has come on since she started training” says Maddy’s Nan.
“It’s meant that she’s not as out of breath as usual, and her muscle mass is unbelievable.
“The hospital originally told us that it would take 2-3 years for Maddy to get completely back to ‘normal’ – it’s only taken 18 months.
“It’s amazing. We are all, as a family, very excited for Maddy’s upcoming fight, in Nottingham!”
The stories of our members mean a lot to us, and we love to share your achievements and celebrate your news.
People like Maddy reiterate the support network which undercurrents our clubs, and we’re deeply proud that this exists throughout our clubs across the UK.
Keep it up Maddy, and the very best of luck in your upcoming competitions!
Image: Maddy (left) stands with her sister Darby as the pretty pair pose for a picture