In 2007, after the cancer diagnosis of a member’s 3-year old niece Maddy, a Des Moines business networking group, became very interested in finding a way to make a difference in the life of this little  girl and in the lives of other children and their families who face a cancer diagnosis.  Driven by their desire to give back to the communities in which they serve, the group partnered with Children’s Cancer Connection to hold the 1st Annual Maddy Cunningham’s Classic  Volleyball Tournament.

Since that first year, the tournament committee has remained passionate about providing financial support for the many programs and services that Children’s Cancer Connection provides to children, and their families, battling childhood cancer.  So, in that spirit, on August 29, 2020, we are proud to host the 14th Annual Maddy Cunningham’s Classic Volleyball Tournament benefiting Children’s Cancer Connection.

As we begin our efforts in making this year’s tournament another success, the tournament committee would like to thank the many teams, businesses, and volunteers for their support of Maddy Cunningham’s Classic Volleyball Tournament.  As a result of your efforts, over $233,800 in proceeds have been raised for Children’s Cancer Connection through Maddy Cunningham’s Classic Volleyball Tournament! This year, we hope to bring the total amount raised since 2007 to over $275,000!! So, we invite you, and all those interested in aiding our efforts to bring joy to the lives of the children and families with a cancer diagnosis, to join us on August 29, 2020, for another day of games, fun, and camaraderie.

In 2007 when Maddy was just 3 years old, she began to experience headaches accompanied with vomiting. Maddy’s parents – Jennifer and Mathew – were concerned. They consulted their doctor who at first thought it was just the stomach flu, which is common in young children. But when the headaches and vomiting continued and Maddy’s energy level was drained, they went back to the doctor who was then concerned it could be something more serious such as meningitis. After a visit to the Emergency Department, several tests were ordered, and something unexpected was discovered – a brain tumor. A CT scan revealed a cancerous tumor in Maddy’s brain the size of a golf ball – the diagnosis was Medulloblastoma. “Devastation doesn’t begin to describe the emotions we felt,” says Jennifer, Maddy’s mom. “But with Maddy’s spirit and positive attitude, we knew she could beat this.” The first part of Maddy’s cancer treatment was at the Children’s Hospital of Iowa in Iowa City. She had surgery to remove the tumor, followed by 6 weeks of daily radiation and weekly chemo. After that was completed, she had 9 cycles of maintenance chemo at Blank Children’s Hospital – lasting almost 1 year. Now, 13 years later, Maddy is still cancer free! She just recently celebrated her 17th birthday and is looking forward to starting 12th grade in the fall.  Maddy and her family are grateful for the love and support they received along the way, especially through the irreplaceable relationships they’ve made through Children’s Cancer Connection.

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