Ten-year-old Cassidy Maddox has grappled with true perseverance and personal strength much sooner than her mother ever wished when she faced a life-threatening diagnosis in January.

But, it could have been worse.

“I’m just glad she gets to fight,” her mother, Debbie Maddox, said.

Cassidy had always drank lots of water and had bladder issues as a child, but her mother said after visits to the pediatrician the cause of those problems was still undiagnosed.

“They (pediatricians) just called it bed wetting and things like that,” she said. “While all of this is going on, I’m like, ‘Maybe she’s just thirsty, or maybe she’s diabetic.’”

It took a move to Dr. Bret Cuthbertson in Cullman to see the true issue rise to the surface.

Thinking the cause of Cassidy’s problems could be something complex, Cuthbertson gave her a water deprivation test to check for diabetes insipidus.

“I bless him to this day for that,” Maddox said.

Cuthbertson correctly diagnosed Cassidy with diabetes insipidus, but while running related tests he also found something else: A tumor on her pituitary gland.

Faced with such a tough situation, Maddox said her daughter hardly missed a beat.

“When we first told her what she had she was bummed out, but then she said she was just going to think of it as an experience,” Maddox said.

With efforts to get rid of that cancer, the experience has included a craniotomy, numerous chemotherapy sessions, overnight stays in the intensive care unit of Children’s Hospital and occasional treatment complications — but through it all, Cassidy is still fighting.

Even when the chemotherapy began and Cassidy started losing her hair, her mother said she never let it get her down.

“Once it started falling out she just asked her daddy to shave it,” Newton said.

Cassidy nodded in agreement, remembering the day, and adjusted the brightly colored cap on her head.

“It hasn’t been very fun,” she said, offering her thoughts on the past few months.

Maddox said when the hard times began the outpouring from friends, family, and the community was unbelievably generous.

“Her friends at school did a fundraiser for her and we just receive cards all the time,” she said. “I’ve come home and there would be packages on my door from people that don’t even know us.”

Even the Maddox family’s church, Good Hope Baptist, got involved to lend a helping hand.

Volunteers from the church pitched in to help make bright, smiley-face pillows for Cassidy to give to the children during her next visit.

“Cassidy wanted to do something nice for some of the other kids that were with her at Children’s Hospital,” Maddox said.

As for Cassidy’s prognosis, she has just finished chemotherapy and is doing well.

She has an MRI scheduled for July 9 to make sure the chemotherapy was effective, and a final six week-long round of radiation treatment after that.

Once that is completed, Maddox said she hopes things can start getting back to normal.

“She is feeling so much better, and it’s so great to see her feel like playing and drawing and doing all the stuff she used to do,” she said.

Maddox said her family has learned a lot from Cassidy’s experience, but more than anything they have learned the importance of togetherness.

“It has made us stronger, it has made us look at things differently,” she said. “You really know what a ‘big deal’ is after going through something like this.”

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