Madden Wicker-Vriend is a exuberant, full of life and smiles, almost 13 year old in Chilliwack.
He has a huge personality in a very small frame. Those who know him describe him as determined, kind, funny, and a bright light.
His family’s motto for him is that “He’s different to make a difference.”
Madden is a natural athlete and has played with Chilliwack Minor Hockey and Chilliwack Minor ball for about 8 seasons with each.
Madden has not had an easy life when it comes to health challenges. Born early with restricted growth Madden was diagnosed with a lung disease, endocrine disorder, esophageal motility disease, among others. More recently Madden has been diagnosed with MIRAGE syndrome (a rare and spontaneous genetic disorder recently discovered and named). This led to the addition of hematology and immunology clinics.
Madden is followed by 8 different clinics at Children’s Hospital and has spent hundreds of days there as an outpatient and inpatient. He has had countless procedures and surgeries and is on multiple medications and therapies.
But he has approached every health obstacle with a smile and positive and laid back attitude.
Most of his health issues have been long standing, since birth or shortly thereafter so they are a part of him and his life. He has other health concerns that are more future-oriented and will present their own challenges down the road.
Currently, Madden is facing a sudden and acute health crisis. In January 2022 routine bloodwork highlighted a possible kidney/renal concern. This led to further investigation including a kidney biopsy in February to help explain the sudden onset of chronic kidney disease. The results showed damage so advanced and extensive that a cause could not be pinpointed. Several medications and dietary changes were introduced to slow the progression but his numbers and health continued to deteriorate rapidly. Throughout this Madden attended school and continued to play sports with his usual energetic demeanor. In March it was discussed that Madden should be referred to the transplant team. In April it was determined that he needed to start dialysis as he wouldn’t make it to transplant time without this life sustaining therapy.
Dialysis is an intensive process involving a surgery and hospital stay for catheter insertion; as well as over two weeks of daily dialysis training at Children’s for Eryn and Jesse. They can then perform peritoneal dialysis at home through the night for Madden so he can maintain some normalcy. Madden has also started the extensive pre-transplant work up that includes over 25 separate appointments.
The next step is sharing Madden’s story to see if any individuals feel called to be a potential living kidney donor for him or anyone else waiting for one. Outcomes from living donors are generally better than outcomes from deceased donor transplants. The living donor process is voluntary, extensive, and confidential. A potential donor can change their mind at any point in the process. A donor must start the screening process themselves by contacting the Pre-Transplant Clinic at St. Paul’s Hospital.
Both Eryn and Jesse have had to take a month off of work for the dialysis surgery and training, with more appointments to come. Months off of work will be required at transplant time for prep, surgery, recovery, and follow up. The transplant team actually recommends relocation to Vancouver for 3 months. With Eryn being self-employed for 75% of her time this has impacted the family’s finances drastically. Not to mention the gas required going back and forth daily to Children’s, meals, supplies, and other things.
Madden lives in Chilliwack with his mom Eryn, dad Jesse, sister, and two younger brothers. He has a very small and close extended family. Madden also has a community of supporters. Not a single person can meet Madden without being impacted by his amazing attitude and personality.