FORT WAYNE, Ind. (Fort Wayne's NBC) -- A very brave 11 year old girl from Fort Wayne received two tremendous honors Thursday morning for turning her hard-fought battle with a rare disease into an opportunity to help others.
The Children's Miracle Network selected Maddie Dean as their 2020 Indiana Champion.
Mayor Tom Henry surprised Maddie with a city proclamation, naming February 27, 2020 as "Maddie Dean Day" in the city of Fort Wayne.
Maddie has fought an incurable disease since she was 3 years old and credits her support system at Riley Hospital for Children for helping her cope with the symptoms.
But, Maddie has done far more than cope.
Her family says the disease makes playing outside difficult, so she's turned to art and music.
She then sells her "Masterpieces by Maddie" to raise money for Riley.
Maddie said, "Riley helped me a lot, and I want to be able to help them. So when I raise money for them, I'm helping them be able to buy new equipment or keep up the game room and things to lift kids spirit, and even save their life."
Angela Dean, Maddie's mom, said, "When you're in the battle, when things are rough, you kinda get lost. One of the things we wanted to make sure was that she never felt sorry for herself. That she continued to live her life but know that she could help others with this. And so today is just, it's amazing, it's an overwhelming feeling. We're all on cloud 9."
By the way, Maddie doesn't just paint.
She's also developing her piano skills to bring joy to fellow Riley patients.
Maddie, congratulations from all of us at Fort Wayne's NBC News because we are quite proud of you!