Madison Luechtefeld, 6, of O’Fallon, Ill., smiles big with her prize-winning creation, Rocket in the Sky.
Six-year-old Madison Luechtefeld loves to create beautiful things and has dreams of becoming a fashion designer when she grows up. So when her mother told her about the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Gateway Chapter’s first annual art contest, she knew right away she wanted to enter.
“I like to be creative, and I just love doing art,” says Madison, who has CF. “I would paint even if there wasn’t a contest.”
First prize for winning the contest was tickets to attend the Gateway Chapter’s Reach for a Star gala and the opportunity to be on stage as the winning art was being auctioned. Madison chose to paint a picture of a rocket ship, explaining, “The people in the rocket ship were trying to reach the stars.”
When the entries were judged, Madison’s creation, Rocket in the Sky, won first prize. “I was really surprised and really excited!” Madison remembers.
A Night to Remember
At first, Alicia Luechtefeld, Madison’s mom, was a bit concerned about how the evening would go for Madison. “It was a formal event, and she was the only kid there,” she says. “But she glowed all night long and basked in the attention. It was definitely a highlight of her life.”
Madison brought her favorite doll along for company, and she charmed everyone she met. When the purchaser of the painting offered to double his donation if Madison would re-sign the painting for him, she cheerfully obliged — and the sale of her painting raised $2,400 for the CF Foundation.
Taking It All in Stride
At the donor’s request, Madison signs her winning artwork again at the Gateway Chapter’s Reach for a Star gala, raising $2,400 to help support the CF Foundation’s mission.
Madison was two months old when she was diagnosed with CF. Her brother, Brady, 4, does not have CF, but eight-month-old brother Logan does. To make living with CF easier on her family, Alicia follows the advice she would give to other parents who have children with the disease: “Work hard to live your life exactly as you would without the diagnosis. Treat the medicines as if everyone has to do it and it is part of daily life.”
Madison seems to have absorbed her mother’s straightforward attitude toward CF: She says the most important thing for people to know about CF is that “it’s important to be active and to play outside.”
In the Luechtefeld home, television makes the daily treatment regimen less of a burden. Madison and her brothers watch their favorite television shows during vest or hand percussion treatments.
Portrait of a Young Artist
While Madison is modest about her artistic talent, she is also justifiably proud of her achievement. Looking back on the experience of being on stage at the gala, Madison says, “I felt very proud of myself and my art.”
She also understands the importance of her contribution to the work of the Foundation. And how does she feel about that? Her answer is clear: “Really good.”
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