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Meet Madeleine

Meet Madeleine

"Miracles really DO happen - I get to hug one every day!"

Jennifer and Brent were shocked when they found out they were pregnant with identical twin girls. Madeleine and Elizabeth Rigsby were born five and a half weeks early on June 19, 2002. While everything seemed normal at birth, Madeleine’s pediatrician discovered a heart murmur the next day.  The doctor ordered some routine tests, and Jennifer and Brent were assured that all should be okay because heart murmurs are fairly common.  Madeleine began having trouble keeping her blood sugar and body temperature in the normal range, so they transitioned her to the NICU at Phoebe. Later that afternoon, Madeleine’s doctor discovered a heart defect and Madeleine was immediately transferred to Augusta, leaving her mother and twin sister behind. The transport team cut a piece of Jennifer’s gown and placed it by Madeleine’s face so that she could have a part of her mom with her on the journey. “This small gesture will for always be a special memory of mine on the long road we were about to embark,” says Jennifer. 

Madeleine had her first open heart surgery at just five days old and was given a 10% chance to live with the surgery, and 0% chance to live without it. Against all odds, Madeleine survived and has fought through 5 additional surgeries. One day sitting in the Intensive Care Unit waiting room, a stranger gave Jennifer a small pink bag and a quick hug, and then walked away.  Jennifer opened the bag to find a shiny stone with the words “Never Give Up” written on it.  This was the beginning of Madeleine’s life motto, and she has been persevering ever since!

Because Madeleine had trouble keeping up with her twin sister, Jennifer started taking Madeleine to Atlanta every week when she was three for intensive therapy services. As Jennifer saw how much Madeleine benefitted from this therapy, she made our community aware of the great need. In 2015, Children’s Miracle Network at Phoebe funded Intensive Suit Therapy equipment so Madeleine and hundreds of other kids can receive the therapy they need right here at home. Today, Madeleine is a happy, fun loving fourteen year old that loves to play ball, cheer, and have fun with her friends. She goes to therapy four times a week at Phoebe Northwest, and is continuing to fight to meet her goals. Thanks to Children’s Miracle Network, Madeleine is alive to live each day to the fullest and reminds her family and friends every day to never give up!

For more information, call Phoebe Foundation at 229-312-4483 or toll-free at 877-312-4483. You can also email Phoebe Foundation at