facebook tracking pixel Mom of ailing child to join walk-a-thon | TheUnion.com

Mom of ailing child to join walk-a-thon

David Mirhadi
This photo of Madison Downing was shot at Christmas.
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Like so many new mothers, Emily Downing wanted the world for her newborn daughter.

And while those hopes for 14-month-old Madison haven’t been put on hold, Downing, 19, is trying to make sure her only child makes it to her dreams.

Emily Downing, a Gridley resident with ties to Grass Valley, is planning to participate in the 14th annual “Great Strides Walk a-Thon” to raise money for her daughter, who was diagnosed six months ago with cystic fibrosis, a genetic disease that produces abnormally thick mucus on vital membranes and organs of the brain.

Emily Downing and her mother, Nancy, of Grass Valley, are collecting donations for the walk, which is billed by the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation as its largest fund-raiser of the year.

The event is a 6.2-mile walk that begins at 8 a.m. Saturday at William Land Park in Sacramento. Downing and her mother are soliciting pledges for the walk, which aims to increase funding for cystic fibrosis research. Money from a day of sales at Your Pets Dog and Cat Grooming in Grass Valley has already netted about $350, Nancy Downing said.

“My daughter is handling her responsibilities very well, and hopefully, Madison can have a good, long life,” Nancy Downing said. “I pray that she’ll get better – she’s been in the hospital so much since she was born.”

Madison is being treated by physicians at the University of California at Davis Medical Center. She needs inhalers to breathe and must have enzymes sprinkled on her food so she can digest it properly, since her pancreas is failing.

“The shock of the disease didn’t hit me for a while,” said Emily Downing, a single mother. “I’ve had to do it all myself, but I have a lot of hope. I’m really upbeat about her future.”

To donate money for the Great Strides Walk-a-Thon, contact Nancy Downing at 273-0620.

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