Community helps family of 6-month-old who died in February

Published 11:05 am Monday, May 2, 2011

Rene Price with her daughter, Maddie. (photo submitted)

A simple hot dog supper in early April pulled together a community grieving over the loss of a little girl and helped raise money for her family.
Madeline Reece Price, the granddaughter of Rev. Allen and Barbara McKinney of Green Creek Baptist Church, passed away Feb. 27, 2011.
She was just 6 months old.
Months of emergency trips back and forth to the hospital took a toll on Madeline’s family, so her grandfather’s church family, and the surrounding community, stepped in raising $3,000 selling hot dogs.
“We had an outpouring of people come out there and love on us,” said Madeline’s mother, Renee Price. “I know a lot of them didn’t get to meet her but just for them to pray for someone they really don’t know. Anybody can say, ‘We are thinking about you, we’re praying for you,’ but to honestly feel it and know that they really are praying is amazing.”
People came and went as members of the congregation sang songs and fellowshipped, Price said.
With the $3,000 raised, the family has purchased Maddie’s gravestone; something they didn’t know when they’d be able to afford.
“These people are so great and the community, not all together just the church, but the people in the area are so generous and they show that in so many ways,” said Rev. Allen McKinney. “It is just a sign of a wonderful community who just poured out their heart to us.”
Maddie, as she was affectionately called, was born with a chromosome deficiency.
Right from the beginning of Renee’s pregnancy, doctors wanted to run a slue of tests because she was over the age of 35. Renee however opted out of the tests and later, through ultrasounds, discovered her baby girl would have a rough life.
“I said she is what she is – God made her,” Renee said. “I just think because I didn’t get the test, because I allowed it to be God’s will, he allowed me to keep her as long as I did.”
Renee and husband, Earl, made a trip to Georgia weeks before Maddie was due to tour the hospital where she would be born.
“It’s just amazing because God had a plan. We were supposed to deliver in Georgia because they were supposed to do the heart surgery there. We had just gone down there for a day,” Renee said.
Doctors chose to do an ultrasound while the couple was there and they discovered the baby was in distress. Earl had already left to go back home, with plans to come back the next day, when doctors gave Renee even scarier news.
“Come to find out they said she wouldn’t have lived one more day in my belly,” Renee said.
Ten minutes later doctors decided to go ahead and perform a C-section, she said.
“I remember praying the whole way back, back there,” Renee said. “The first thing that came into my mind was, ‘I will never leave you or forsake you’ … my heart was beating so fast but as soon as those operating doors opened I felt at peace.”
Doctors told the Prices their little girl would never drink from a bottle or be able to hear, among other things. Wanting their daughter to spend her time on earth at home, and not in the hospital, the Price’s took her home.
“She had such a temper – she was a little fighter, let me tell you,” Renee said. “She would jerk that [feeding tube] out and so, I said, ‘Ok, I’ll just give you a bottle.’ And she did, she drank from it.”
Maddie was just 3 pounds when she was born and only 6 pounds the day she died – the size of a newborn. Her grandfather however said she made more out of life than anyone he’s ever known, despite her tiny stature.
“That little lady packed it as full as any person ever has,” Rev. McKinney said.
He said his granddaughter missed few church services and brought much delight to those around her.
“It was six months of just a wonderful, wonderful gift. God knew the right family to give her to,” Rev. McKinney said. “We just tried to lavish our love on her.”
Rev. McKinney said 250 people showed up for Maddie’s funeral.
The medical costs the Price’s have borne, the emotional distress they faced, didn’t surmount the blessings Maddie’s young life brought them, Renee said.
“She had so many people praying for her – so many people told me that because of her they got closer to the Lord. I just think that it’s amazing she was able to touch so many lives,” she said.
Additional donations received will be put toward defraying medical costs for Madeline’s family. Donations can be made by contacting the church at 828-863-2600.

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