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Life & Work with Madeline Domian

Today we’d like to introduce you to Madeline Domian.

Alright, so thank you so much for sharing your story and insight with our readers. To kick things off, can you tell us a bit about how you got started?
When my aunt Katie-Do was diagnosed with cancer in 2013, I really wanted to help find a cure. My sister and I sold cookies at our neighborhood garage sale. We did this for two years and donated the money to the American Cancer Society. While this was successful, I wanted to do more.

In September 2015, my aunt lost her battle with cancer. This was a hard time for our family. My aunt Katie-Do was so special to all of us. I thought, what can I do to keep her memory alive? I remember how hard chemo treatments were for her and I thought no kid should have to go through that. I started researching what kids going through chemo may need to help ease their side effects and make their day a little brighter.

Like many schools, our school loves to make people happy. One way we do this is by organizing service projects. I decided to ask my principal if the school would be willing to support my idea of making chemo care kits for kids. I worked with the school counselor and the leadership team to organize a chemo care kit drive. I then presented a PowerPoint presentation to the school asking for their help.

Everyone thought it was a great idea and the donations started piling in! It was so great to see everyone caring and supporting this cause! At the beginning of our drive, we had hoped to assemble 20 kits. We had SO MANY donations that we were able to put together 50! It felt so good to know that we were helping so many kids going through a hard time. I never realized how this would touch the hearts of so many.

I decided to keep this project going and named it after my aunt, Katie-Do Kare Kits 4 Kids. In March of 2016, we delivered our first Katie-Do Kare Kits to St. Louis Children’s Hospital. The support from the community was amazing! In May 2016, I was sponsored by Allegiant Airlines to deliver Kare Kits at Arnold Palmer Children’s Hospital in Orlando, Florida. This was an incredible experience.

I had the opportunity to hand-deliver Katie-Do Kare Kits to children undergoing chemotherapy. It warmed my heart to put a smile on their faces during their hospital stay. During my journey, I’ve also had the opportunity to meet so many great people all over the world! Katie-Do Kare Kits has inspired several kids to start their own service projects, even in Australia!

I love visiting schools, sharing my story, and inspiring others to make a difference in their communities. It’s such a great feeling to see other kids wanting to help others. The last six years have been an amazing experience. I never thought such a simple act of kindness would lead me down this path.

I am so thankful for all the donations and support. To date, I have delivered over 1,900 Katie Do Kits 4 Kids!!

I’m sure you wouldn’t say it’s been obstacle-free, but so far would you say the journey has been a fairly smooth road?
While Katie-Do Kare Kits has been an incredible experience, there have been some speed bumps along the way. I quickly realized that not all hospitals had the same guidelines regarding which donations they would accept. Some hospitals would deny specific items that were included in the kits.

Researching and some extra communication before assembling kits have helped make the deliveries go smoothly. My biggest hurdle was the impact of COVID on the delivery of Katie-Do Kare Kits. Throughout COVID, hospital policies changed and many were not accepting donations.

This left us with a room full of donations and nowhere to send them. Instead, we focused on where I could send them, and ultimately, I sent several directly to kids at their homes. While I could not be there to present the kits individually, from the feedback I received, this impact was just as positive and brought smiles to many.

The COVID lockdown lasted quite a while but eventually, several hospitals loosened their policy. Today, I am excited to share that I am back to delivering Katie Do Kare Kits to hospitals as more and more pediatric oncology departments are opening their doors to donations!

Can you tell our readers more about what you do and what you think sets you apart from others?
Katie Do Kare Kits has gained a lot of recognition over the years. One thing I’m most proud of is being honored with, “The Prudential Spirit of Community” award.

I was selected as the Missouri State Middle School Honoree. This was a great honor! Along with 100 other state honorees, we traveled to Washington, DC to be recognized for our commitment to helping others.

During this trip, I met several other kids across the nation who shared this same passion for philanthropy. While in DC, I volunteered at an elementary school, visited with my State Senator, and made lifelong friendships.

Can you tell us more about what you were like growing up?
I have always been very determined and motivated to reach my goals. When I was in 4th grade, my dad took a new position with his company and he had to move to New York City for a year. Although my dad moving away was challenging, we made the best of it by traveling to see him on a monthly basis.

It was on one of my trips to see him when I had the opportunity to see my first Broadway show, “Matilda.” The energy, emotion, and power of a Broadway show moved me like no other. At the end of Matilda, I was literally moved to tears. For one, because it was over. And two, because it inspired me to one day perform on the big stage!

When I returned home, I quickly joined a dance team and began taking voice lessons. I was determined to improve my skills knowing that my goal was to find a place in musical theatre. I auditioned for The Muny that summer and was overjoyed when I was cast in the “Wizard of Oz” youth ensemble.

Since then, I’ve been cast in seven productions at The Muny and have enjoyed performing in the Muny Kid and Muny Teen troupes. My favorite show was Annie, where I was cast as orphan Tessie and actually had several lines in the show!

I was so proud to see the hard work pay off and am so thankful to those that have supported me along the way.

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Image Credits
Betsey Mooney

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