Madi’s Story told by here mother ~ Katherine Ambos

Madi’s Story ~ told by her Mother ~ Katherine Ambos

Our baby girl, Madison, was born three years ago.  She arrived early at 32 weeks. We enjoyed those early months. But at the age of six months we realized she wasn’t meeting her milestones for gross motor skills. Then, after her first birthday, following a battery of tests we received the devastating news. Madi has Cerebral Palsy (CP).

Madi will be a Villager for life.  As she calls it, it’s her second home.  It’s also the place where I have had many joyful life experiences, and have always felt at home.

My first experience with Variety Village was when I was four.  We lived in the neighbourhood.  My mother was a special education teacher who often brought her classes to the Village for adapted fitness programs for kids with disabilities. She loved the inclusive, integrated philosophy and soon realized that there was something for everyone with or without disabilities. So she introduced me and my brother to Variety Village.

Over the years we participated in Children in Motion, a unique program focusing on the fundamentals of play; we had Red Cross swim lessons, and attended summer camps. My entire childhood and teenage years involved working and volunteering with children and adults with disabilities and sparked my passion for teaching so, like my mother, I took the path to become a special education teacher.

After graduating, I returned to Variety to work part-time in programs. That’s when I met my husband. James was a long-time member of Variety Village and was giving back by volunteering with the Sunshine Swim Team – a team for swimmers with developmental disabilities.

Having grown up alongside people with disabilities, James and I always said if we had a child with a disability, we would be prepared. We were wrong. We really didn’t know what we were doing in the beginning but, we didn’t see Madi’s “disability” as a barrier, and we clearly understood we needed to provide her with all the help we could give her. It gives me some peace to know Variety Village will be part of Madi’s journey moving forward.  I couldn’t imagine her life without the Village.

I watch Madi as she swims in the pool with her instructor Ryan or 16 year old Flames Team swimmer, Jessica. Because Jessica also has CP, she and Madi have created a unique bond. Madi loves the water and has become a little fish. Swimming has eased Madi’s leg pain, made her happy and helped her sleep better at night. She is happy with her accomplishments and new-found confidence and she is working hard in the hope she will one day swim on the Flames team like Jessica. More importantly, I see that Madi is proud of herself.

I laugh as Madi zooms around the fieldhouse with her walker or climbs the obstacle course in her Children in Motion program. It comforts me to know she will receive expert instruction and physiotherapy and that she will see her entire family participating in programs together – Madi has a little brother now; Jack, who is nine months old.

I’m grateful we have a place like Variety Village. Our children are accepted, safe, comfortable, and included at their “second home.”  Madison and all the kids’ like her need your support. Variety Village is essential in the lives of so many children and families.


Katherine Ambos


About writingmama

Sylvia McGrath ~ AKA Writingmama, a freelance writer from King City, Ontario has worked in the business field for about forty years obtaining business management experience and business writing skills. She also spent several years in social work for Children’s Services. Now retired is living her childhood dream of being a writer. A few years ago Sylvia decided to take a course in freelance writing, which she really enjoyed as it was the key to follow her dreams. Since completing the course, she has worked as a professional writer, a published poet and co-authored a book with Two Maximum Life Coaches about living with chronic illness; this is titled After The Diagnosis: The Journey Beyond.” She also co-authored an E-Book of Resources for the parents of children with special needs, chronic illness and learning challenges titled “The Treasure Chest of Resources,” part-one has already been sent to the Canadian National Library Archives. Sylvia has also written several articles on chronic illness for the following online sites. • • • Besides working as a freelance writer, Sylvia still finds time for two other passions of hers; to volunteer as a literacy tutor for her local Learning Centre, and assist in facilitating of workshops on disability awareness. Her main mission for the future is to write a series of books for young adults and children who have learning challenges and suffer chronic illness. At present she is also the co-owner and columnist for “Professor Owl’s Newsletter” which is published on-line monthly for children.
This entry was posted in Inspirational Stories and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Madi’s Story told by here mother ~ Katherine Ambos

  1. simonfalk28 says:

    There is so much in this story, Sylvia. Not only is Madi inspirational, but, so are her parents. Thanks for this story 🙂 Simon’s Still Stanza #WATWB

  2. JoAnna says:

    She’s beautiful!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s