Madi Moore, the standout volleyball player who rallied an Indiana community as she foughtÂ leukemia and, in April, was chosen to announce the Indianapolis Colts draft picks, has died.
The 17-year-old player at Linton-Stockton High, 90 miles southwest of Indianapolis, died early Monday at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health.
â€œAround 7:30 a.m. this morning, our sweet, beautiful girl went home to be with Jesus,” her mom, Tera Orman, posted on Facebook. “She waited for all of the immediate family to be here and took her last breath.â€Â
Madi was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia in January 2018. In August, she received a stem cell transplant and was declared cancer-free. But twice her body was attacked by graft-versus-host disease;Â herÂ donor stem cells rejected by her own body. Eventually, the disease caused her lungs to fail.
Madi Moore is a standout volleyball player at Linton-Stockton High.Â (Photo: Provided by Tera Orman)
â€œOur family is devastated, but we know she is no longer in pain and is rejoicing in heaven with Jesus and all of our loved ones who went before her,â€ said Orman, who is married to Madiâ€™s stepdad, Gregg Orman, a pastor. â€œI want to say thank you for all of the prayers and support you have all given Madi and our family, and please know that we will forever be grateful.Â Love you all.â€
In April, Madi was one of three Riley patients chosen to help announce the Colts’ fourth and fifth round picksÂ of the NFL draft. Inside the hospitalÂ with Indianapolis Colts cornerbacks Kenny Moore andÂ Pierre Desir, Madiâ€™s face was swollen andÂ her eyes were in intense pain due toÂ the steroids pumping through her body.
‘It might help inspire other kids’
Still, she went, appearing live on NFL Network, Colts.com and NFL NOW. She said at the time she was nervousÂ about her appearance, but she was excited, too. She saidÂ she wanted to show her story, her battle with an awfulÂ disease.
“It might help inspire other kids to keep pushing,” Madi said.
At the time, Madiâ€™s nurse practitioner on the stem cell transplant team at Riley, Stayce Woodburn, told IndyStar if there were anyone tougher than an NFL player, it was Madi.
Whether Madi hadÂ chemo coursing through her veins or was hanging onto life in the intensive care unitÂ â€” Woodburn never saw herÂ withoutÂ a smile on her face and an air of gratitude.
“When IÂ think about sports or IÂ think about all of the ups and downs of winning and losing, I reallyÂ think her journey is very parallel to that,” said Woodburn. “She is the perfect person for this.”
It started with an exhaustion Madi had never felt before as she practiced with the Minor Cadets at Linton-Stockton, performing with rifles and flags. She tried to push through, but eventually she couldn’t.
After doctors appointments, negative flu tests and a lot of blood work, the phone rang.
“Get her immediately to the ER,” Tera Orman remembers the doctor saying. Madi’s blood counts were critically low.Â
Inside Riley,Â the family received the diagnosis. Madi had leukemia and the cancer had overtaken her body.
The next 15 months were a battle. MadiÂ fought to get to the point where a transplant could happen. She spent weeks in the intensive care unit. She missed volleyball season.
Having to fight graft-versus-host disease after all of that took a toll on her spirit;Â still Madi fought hard.
“Itâ€™s a process we are going through, even with the tremendous battle with the leukemia, it doesn’t seem like itâ€™s everÂ finished until it actually is finished,” Gregg OrmanÂ said in April. “So, we are tryingÂ to get this thing to the finish line.”
The day before she appeared on NFL Network, Madi said her goal was to get healthy enough to go back to school this fall for her senior year and play on theÂ volleyball team.
“She was so beautiful andÂ courageous,” Jennifer Maloney, one of nearly 2,000 people to post about Madi on Tera Orman’s Facebook page, wrote. “Such an inspiration to others in that condition, plus she inspired other teens. Such an awesome human being. R.I.P. Madison.”
Services for Madi have not yet been set.Â