9-year-old Niantic girl loses her long battle with cancer

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NIANTIC — Nine-year-old Madeline Guarraia lost her five-year battle with cancer Wednesday afternoon. Her family reached out to FOX 61 asking us to wait until Thursday to report the tragic news.

The Niantic youngster’s long battle with the disease made local and national headlines, with reports on the progress of her cancer struggles being posted to a Facebook group called “Mad About Madeline,” but also stories about how the community rallied to her support every step of the way, from raising money and awareness of her plight, to helping search for a bone marrow donor.

Maddie was first diagnosed with cancer at age 4, and she survived it twice–including late 2014 to early 2015, when her 19-month-old brother donated bone marrow for her after they discovered he was a match.

We love Maddie signMadeline and her family received even more support from the Shack Restaurant in East Lyme, which she and her family had been visiting her whole life. When Maddie’s parents came in, food was waiting and when they couldn’t leave the house, food was delivered to their front door.

Sadly, a post was made to her Facebook page just before 4 p.m on Wednesday:

“Today is one of those days that it doesn’t make sense to us how this world is still spinning. With the deepest sadness imaginable, and shattered hearts, our family would like to share that Madeline earned her angel wings early this morning.

In bed with her mommy, holding hands and listening to nature sounds, she passed away ever so peacefully in her sleep with a slight smile on her face, as she ran into the arms of her Mimi. After 5 years of fighting, she is now forever cured.

Her last word was “Mimi.” And the last thing I told her was “you have no idea how much you’ve changed the world.”

Mimi is Guarraria’s grandmother, who passed away from cancer five years ago, at age 49. A post from Tuesday talks about Mimi, and her connection to Madeline:

“We could never understand why she was taken from us so early. But once Madeline was diagnosed we knew. Madeline needed a very special angel to watch over her. She and my mom were so close as my mom watched her twice a week as a baby while I worked and they developed that bond quickly. My mom would be so tired when I got home because she carried Madeline around all day because she said “well, she liked it better than being put down.” When my mom passed Madeline had a few separate visions of her and made us see once more that she can see things others can not.

I don’t want to share all of the personal and intimate things that have occurred this week to let us know that my mom is guiding her. But…we know. For a fact. As a family we strongly believe that a loves one is sent to “pick you up” to safely guide you to the other side. And there is NOTHING more comforting than knowing that she will picked up by the most loving mom, who will probably never put her down.”

In a March 30 Facebook post, her mom asked for love and prayers for Maddie, her siblings, her parents and all those who love her, but said they have accepted the point that they are at after trying everything to heal her for five years.

“Madeline has fought for 5 years. As humans it is our will to try to save each other- to give our loved ones more time on this earth. And that’s exactly what we did for Madeline as she continued the fight. But after a while it comes at a selfish expense. We believe there is much more than what we see here. We believe that Madeline is SO much bigger than this world. And we believe that what we all need to do at this point is to stop trying to hold her back from the beautiful things that await her. With all she has given us, the best thing we can give her is the ‘ok’ to be at peace.”