Maddy Cunningham's Classic Volleyball Tournament


In 2007, after the cancer diagnosis of a member’s 3-year old niece Maddy, Business Architects, a Des Moines networking business 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, Business Architects partnered with Children’s Cancer Connection (formerly The Heart Connection Children’s Cancer Programs) to hold the 1st Annual Maddy Cunningham’s Classic Volleyball Tournament.  Business Architects felt strongly about providing financial support for the many programs and services that Children’s Cancer Connection provides to children, and their families, battling childhood cancer.  From the first tournament in 2007, The Coconut Castaways have played a vital part in providing volunteers to help with the success of the tournament.  With some of their members having a personal interest in supporting Children’s Cancer Connection, The Coconut Castaways have been the official host of the tournament since 2009.  On August 25th, 2018, The Coconut Castaways are proud to host the 12th 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 $177,700 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 $225,000!!  So, we invite you, and all those interested in aiding our efforts to bring joy to the lives of the children and their families with a cancer diagnosis, to join us on August 25, 2018, for another day of games, fun, and camaraderie.  We look forward to your participation and continued support!

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, 11 years later, Maddy is still cancer free! She just recently celebrated her 15th birthday and is looking forward to starting 10th 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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