Student uses passion project to battle cancer

DAVENPORT, Iowa-- “It's been very difficult but I just want people to know it doesn't stay forever," said high school student Madi White.

Madi was diagnosed with stage four brain cancer just three months ago. The tumor is inoperable, so Madi makes the trip to Iowa City everyday for treatment.

Somehow, she still finds time to make it to class.

“People are telling me (school's) not the most important thing right now but to me I want to keep it as the most important thing,” said White.

School is the one place Madi can pursue her passion for welding. She hopes to make welding a career one day.

“Madi started welding a couple years ago,” said Andy Zinn, Davenport West’s welding instructor.  "(She) came in as a small little ninth grade girl that wanted to take welding class; she was in a class with all boys by herself."

Now, she is one of two girls in the class, and she doesn't shy away from the machines.

“I like actually being able to make things, do things, that other people don't know how to do,” said Madi.

Her current project is a bench with 26 ribbons, all a different color, for the 26 different kinds of cancer. The ribbon that symbolizes her cancer is a light grey. Madi didn't want the bench to only recognize her struggles, but everyone effected by cancer.

“The design that she came up with for all of those she counted out all the different types, all the different types of ribbons everything there and put all that together on paper we took it to the computer and she took it from there,” Said Zinn.

Cutting together what she loves, and the news that changed her life.

“The challenges that she's had are pretty tough to be getting up every morning and coming to school,” said Zinn.  "She hasn't missed a beat and comes in every day working just like she has been."

She isn't giving up on her future, and neither is anyone else.

“It's just amazing that they can do so much, and make me feel normal,” said Madi.

Davenport West is hosting a spaghetti dinner that will be served from 4:30-6:30 on Friday, January 18th. The cost of the dinner is $5 per person. Desserts will be available, and a free-will donation is suggested for dessert. There will also be a silent auction and 50/50 raffle. All the money raised will go towards covering, Madi's treatment costs.

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