Six-year-old Madison Bergstrom returned to her room on the oncology floor of Boston Children’s Hospital with her red wagon handle in one hand and her stuffed Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle in the other.
Shauna McLaughlin, 31, scooped her daughter into her arms and onto her lap, and asked how much pizza she hoped to eat at the floor’s pizza night in a few short hours.
“They have every kind of pizza,” Madison said with a smile, still curled up in mom’s embrace.
Although elated to be out of the ICU and well enough to enjoy pizza night, Madison won’t be able to attend the one event she hasn’t stopped talking about for the past few months: the One Direction concert at Gillette Stadium Saturday night.
Hearing of Madison’s situation, a fast-growing set of social media supporters hope to have the British boy band knocking on her door before finishing the three-night run of their “Where We Are” tour in Foxborough on Saturday.
When the Stoughton native was admitted to the Dana-Farber/Boston Children’s Cancer and Blood Disorders Center last Saturday with a ruptured eardrum and low white blood cell counts, her mother knew the concert was out of the question.
Madison has been in and out of the hospital since she was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia at 19 months old. After going into remission, the girl relapsed in November.
McLaughlin posted to her Facebook account that the two would not be attending the show. The crowd of more than 50,000, the noise, and even the trip to the stadium would be too much for the little girl’s immune system to handle, McLaughlin said. She hoped someone would buy the tickets.
A friend saw the post and took to social media to try to help bring Madison’s favorite band to her.
A Facebook page started Aug. 5, “Ask One Direction to Visit Madi,” now has more than 12,000 followers. Hundreds of supporters have left posts for Madison on the page, sending well wishes, positive thoughts, and prayers for a healthy recovery and a visit from One Direction.
“When you come [to the hospital], you don’t know if it is for a few days or a few weeks,” said McLaughlin, a single mother. “It feels so good to know how many people want good for her.”
The “Where We Are” tour is the third for the boy band; the tour began in Toronto on Aug. 1.
One commenter posted, “One Direction, please visit this very brave little girl. You’ll be changed and so will she.” Another posted Instagram pictures from the One Direction concert she attended so as to give Madison a taste of the night’s festivities.
In recent days, the 1DtoMadi hashtag began circulating on Twitter, helping the social media campaign to gain more attention of the “What Makes You Beautiful” singers Niall Horan, Zayn Malik, Louis Tomlinson, Liam Payne, and Harry Styles.
“Not only are [people online wishing] that One Direction will come visit, but they are inspired by her and by me, which is crazy,” McLaughlin said. “The support is amazing. There is good in the world.”
It wouldn’t be the first time One Direction surprised one of their fans. In June, the band took pictures and answered questions with 53 of their fans, all of whom are fighting severe and life-threatening illnesses, at Wembley Stadium in London.
There is no word yet from One Direction on whether they will make a stop at Children’s. McLaughlin said she was hopeful for a surprise visit, but seeing her daughter well and back at home would be even better.
“She is a regular kid. She loves ‘Frozen’ and riding her bike with her neighborhood friends,” she said. “[Cancer has] dictated our lives and this time around I am trying to do all the things we can possibly do — within reason, that [are] normal.”
But a little bit of extraordinary, with the help of a young girl’s favorite band, couldn’t hurt.
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