Published: May. 31, 2023 at 8:47 PM CDT
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DES MOINES, Iowa (KTTC) – KTTC is honored to introduce viewers monthly to some of the youngest among us, facing the unthinkable with bravery and optimism. In our 33rd “Kids With Courage” segment, Caitlin Alexander introduces us to 4-year-old Madison Meyer. She goes by “Madi” for short.

On the day of her interview, Madi was creating art and apparently keeping her parents on their toes.

“She is into painting right now,” her mother, Breeana, told Caitlin.

“I’m not painting!” Madi shouted back.

“Well, she’s coloring right now, sorry,” Breeana responded with a chuckle.

Madi is miles away from where she was less than a year ago.

“The odds were stacked against her 100 percent,” said Madi’s father, Ryan.

It started last July with headaches that wouldn’t go away.

Meyer Family
Meyer Family(Meyer Family)

The Meyer family was living in Kansas at the time.

Madi’s symptoms escalated within an hour.

“She was saying that she was dizzy, she couldn’t walk, anymore. She kind of laid on the floor and started screaming,” Breeana said.

Breeana and Ryan rushed Madi to the hospital, where a scan revealed the unthinkable.

“They did a CT on her brain. She had a tumor in her brain that burst open,” Breeana said.

Emergency crews life flighted Madi from Kansas to Colorado.

It was unclear if she’d even survive the flight.

“She was rushed into the emergency room and there was a team waiting that had already been briefed about her situation, and she was taken into surgery,” Breeana said.

Doctors determined the tumor was cancerous, a high-grade glioma. According to Cincinatti Children’s, it is a tumor of glial cells found in the brain and spinal cord.

Madi’s symptoms after surgery were startling.

“She lost her ability to talk, walk, eat, make any kind of emotions while she was in ICU,” Breeana said.

Madi’s family, including two big sisters, rallied around her knowing she’d have to re-learn how to do everything.

“Holding her and just reassuring her we were going to be there for her was hard for both of us, just because we weren’t expecting anything like this to happen,” Breeana said.

“We’ve all said it, throughout this process, who our real hero is,” Ryan said.

Madi learned how to chew, and slowly, other skills returned.

The Meyer family re-located closer to family in Des Moines.

“I’m going to go to kindergarten!” Madi proudly declared.

Madi is at the learning level where she needs to be. She is embracing all of life’s opportunities, including attending events put on by Childhood Cancer Community in Rochester.

The Meyers attended CCC’s Christmas party where they met Santa and Mrs. Claus and other families going through similar trials.

“The kids that always stand out for me are the ones who are engaged, they’re smiling, they’re having a great time, who take the time to go say, ‘thank you’ to volunteers and leaders. And Madi’s entire family is that way, and they are just a light to the people in the community,” said CCC President and Founder Shanna Lunasin.

This summer, our Kid With Courage will hopefully get to keep venturing out.

“She is hoping to be able to go camping this summer,” Breeana said.

Madi has already proven nothing can keep her down.

She is currently taking oral chemo medication daily.

Her parents say her kind of tumor won’t go away entirely, but she is responding well to the medication, which is positive news.

As always, if there’s a Kid With Courage Caitlin should know about, email her at