Health Team

Olympic fever spreads to Duke Children's Hospital

Posted August 11, 2008 5:30 p.m. EDT
Updated August 12, 2008 9:34 p.m. EDT

— Olympic fever has spread to a group of children at Duke Children's Hospital. They're competing in their own Olympic games during the next two weeks.

Maddie Sargent, 7, is just one of the Olympians on Duke's pediatric bone marrow transplant ward. She has an athletic background as a competitive cheerleader.

“I go up in the air, and they call it flying,” she said.

Maddie was diagnosed with leukemia in February. To fight the boredom of long treatments, Duke's Family Support program organizes activities to spice things up, including their very own Olympics.

“There will be basketball. There will be baseball, bowling …” said Lyndsey Kearns, with Duke Family Support.

The teams represent countries where some of the children's doctors were born.

Even if Maddie doesn't win gold, she said she already feels like a winner. The Jonas Brothers, a teen singing group, sent a personal video to cheer her on.

“Hey, what’s up Maddie?” they said in the video. “Thank you so much for all your love and support. We love you. Thank you.”

“And I said, ‘Oh, they love me!’” Maddie said. “And it was just so hard to keep down.”

Maddie has responded well to her treatment for leukemia, and she hopes go home in a few weeks.