Posted at: 09/09/2013 11:18 PM
Updated at: 09/09/2013 11:24 PM
By: John Doetkott
Young Cancer Patient Pays it Forward
(ABC 6 News) -- ABC 6 News first met Madelaine Stoen back in 2008.
Then just 3 years old, Madelaine was already undergoing treatment for a rare form of muscle cancer.
With medical bills piling up, the story attracted the attention of Simon Cowell and Oprah Winfrey who invited the family on her show for a special surprise.
“I know you're having a problem with your mortgage,” Cowell said in the 2008 broadcast. “And as of this afternoon, your mortgage has been paid off."
Now 8 years old, finished with treatment, and showing no signs of the disease, it's young Madelaine's turn to give back.
“A lot of people helped me and I want to help them,” she said simply.
Which is why, at a cancer benefit in Blooming Prairie over the weekend, Madelaine donated 10 inches of her hair to Locks of Love, a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients.
"She's never had it cut, just trimmed the ends,” Madelaine’s mother Amy said of her daughter’s hair, which began to grow back in 2009. “That was her goal, to get it long enough to cut it off and donate to help some other little kid."
And what's more, despite losing her hair within the first month of treatment, Madelaine herself never actually wore a wig.
“Wigs just weren't her thing,” Amy Stoen said.
But Madelaine said she didn't mind being bald because the condition runs in her family.
“My two uncles and my grandpa are bald,” Madelaine said.
And now with both her cancer and her family behind her, Madelaine is moving forward, and working to bring others right along with her.
“She’s always said she wants to be a doctor,” Amy Stoen said. “She wants to help people, and for being so young, this is one way that she can give back."
Madelaine still visits the Mayo Clinic in Rochester for check-ups every 6 months, but she said she feels strong.
And as for her celebrity benefactors, Amy Stoen said she and Simon Cowell exchange e-mails and updates on Madelaine's progress every few months.