As Mother’s Day approaches, we recognize the commitment of our patients like Maddie Becker to thrive on and inspire others to do the same.
Chicago-area resident Maddie Becker has had the same dream since she was a kid.
“I want to be a mom,” Maddie said in a home video as a young girl. “I want to have 10 kids.”
But dreams aren’t always easy.
Diagnosed at age seven with membranoproliferative glomerulonephritis (MPGN), Maddie lives with a serious and rare disease that causes kidney failure. For six years, she successfully treated the disease with steroids, but the damage to her kidneys soon became too serious. Maddie received a kidney transplant from her mother in 2001.
That new kidney helped support her for another 11 years until Maddie’s body rejected it, requiring her to begin dialysis in 2012. While she began with in-center dialysis, attending three times a week, Fresenius Kidney Care helped transition Maddie to home dialysis instead. Maddie’s care team trained her to administer dialysis herself, and she knows experts are available 24/7 for support if she needs it. At first it was a difficult transition, but Maddie quickly became comfortable with the flexibility to conduct treatments in the comfort of her home.
“Maddie shows tremendous drive when it comes to her at-home dialysis regimen,” said Chanda Mehta, clinic social worker at Fresenius Kidney Care Palatine. “Our care team is consistently impressed by her positive attitude and willingness to help others.”
Despite all her health challenges, Maddie still had that one big goal in mind: to become a mother. Pregnancy and childbirth are just too risky for Maddie, so she began exploring other options including adoption and surrogacy.
Maddie realized there would be challenges becoming a mother with a chronic illness, but she wouldn’t let her disease stop her stop her from living a fulfilling life and making an impact on young lives. In August 2016, Maddie, now 30, became a foster parent with her husband.
With lots of love in her heart, a spare bedroom and the convenience of receiving dialysis at home, Maddie cares for children in need. Maddie and her husband have hosted two children so far and eagerly wait by the phone for the next child they can welcome into their home.
Foster parenting has given Maddie hope, a reason to get out of bed each morning and a drive to stick to her dialysis regimen. She still dreams of becoming a full-time mom one day – either through adoption, or even naturally (if she is able to find a kidney donor).
“Most people don’t understand the impact kidney disease has on your life,” Maddie, said. “But foster parenting made at-home dialysis even easier and gave me a reason to live.”
Maddie encourages others – with or without kidney disease – to have a positive attitude and appreciate all the blessings of life, especially the gift of family.