Teen takes classes in the hospital while battling cancer

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – 16-year-old Madi Moore is taking algebra quiz on her bed as beeping sounds from a hospital machine fill the room. It doesn’t take long to see this high school junior has been tested in many other ways.

Madi is going through an intense round of chemotherapy at Riley Children's Health. The treatment is purposely wiping out her entire immune system in preparation for a stem cell transplant.

Madi was diagnosed with Acute Myeloid Leukemia in January. Since then, it’s been a difficult journey with some setbacks, including a stay in the ICU, where she was on a ventilator part of the time.

"She’s been amazing through all of this. She’s done it with grace and sometimes even joy and happiness,” said Dr. Emily Mueller, Riley Children’s Health oncologist.

"She’s worked very hard, not only to get her strength back, but also continuing to maintain her friendships and her school work. I’ve been thoroughly impressed and grateful to have been part of her team,” Dr. Mueller said.

Madi’s team at hospital includes her teachers, as part of the Riley Hospital School Program. The group of teachers work to provide some normalcy for patients who face a long hospital stay.

"I have never seen her not smile when we’re working with her, I’ve never heard her complain,” said Riley School Program teacher Peggy Green.

"It’s a true gift to be here and to be able to provide the patients and families with the support that they need. For Madi, that means being on track to receive her academic honors diploma,” said Riley School Program teacher Stacy Willett.

Despite everything she’s been through, Madi remains among the top students in her class at Linton-Stockton High School.

"It’s hard sometimes, but I have to just keep pushing through it, it’s my last step this round," Madi said.

Madi says the hospital staff around her has even inspired her career goals.

"Once I went through this, I was like, I definitely want to be a nurse and help kids, because it’s awesome what they do,” she said.

For Madi, there’s a lot to look forward to. She’s ready to get back to school and back to her volleyball teammates.

"We all go through hard times. She’s a great of example of how to do it with a smile on your face and cute headband on,” Dr. Mueller said.

"I know I’m with God, he’s definitely going to bring me through it,” Madi said.

Madi’s stem cell transplant is set for Friday. After that, the recovery process takes a while, but those who know Madi are confident – that’s another test she’ll ace.

If you’re interested in learning more about becoming part of the registry for stem cell transplants, click here.