The Mading family is keeping faith in God after losing their second child to cancer.
Averi Mading, 17, of Bonita Springs, lost her fight with brain and colon cancer. She fought for about three years.
“It’s horrifying to watch your child die,” said Averi’s mother, Erin Mading, who watched her daughter’s body shut down.
“No parent should have to watch their child die.”
Averi, who had been diagnosed with Lynch syndrome III, died Dec. 24, 2013, three years after cancer took the life of her older brother, Cody Mading, in Aug. 31, 2010, also at age 17. He died after fighting 11 months.
“I feel that God does things for a reason,” said Erin Mading, 39. “There is a bigger reason for Averi and Cody dying and I will follow his direction.”
The funeral service for Averi, an Estero High School junior, is set for this weekend.
The memorial service will begin at noon today at Anchor Christian Church, 11651 E. Terry St., Bonita Springs.
It will be followed by a luncheon. All are encouraged and welcome to attend both parts of the service, according to The Mading Foundation’s Facebook page.
“We have had a hard time, but at the same time I’m not mad at God,” Mading said. “There is no more suffering for them and they get to go to heaven early. And that to me is a blessing. I miss them horrible, but I know I will see them again.”
Three of the Mading family’s five children have Turcot syndrome, a form of Lynch syndrome III, a genetic mutation. Averi’s youngest sister, Isabella Mading, 7, has also been diagnosed with Lynch syndrome III.
“But, we are not going to quit,” said Mading, who started “Cancer R U Stupid?” blog in 2012. “We have to find a cure.”
More than likely, Mading said Isabella will have a brain tumor.
“You can take your colon out, but you cannot take part of your brain out,” she said.
Mading said Averi was 14 when she had a colonoscopy, and just before turning 15, her colon was removed.
In addition, Averi had multiple café-au-lait spots, pigmented birthmarks.
In the beginning, Mading said they decided that they wouldn’t do chemotherapy, because they knew Averi couldn’t have repaired her own genes.
After doctors told the family there wasn’t much else that could be done for Averi in the United States, the family decided to take her to Spain for alternative treatment. But once Averi got there, Mading said she got really sick and had to stay in the hospital for more than one month.
“I don’t like the way it ended, but God gave us many blessings along the path,” said Averi’s grandmother, Kristal Mading, of Bonita Springs.
Yet the Madings are determined to finding a cure.
“I don’t know why we cannot find a cure for cancer,” said Mading. “There needs to be more done.”
Averi is survived by her father, Benjamin Mading, mother Erin and three sisters, Kylie, Olivia and Isabella.
Friends and family said Averi would be missed.
Those who knew Averi described her as a courageous, fearless and compassionate friend to everyone, with a great sense of humor.
Hundreds of friends and family members expressed their condolences to the family on The Mading Foundation’s Facebook page.
“She just had a heart for other people,” Mading said. “She just wanted everyone to be happy.”
Averi was a member of Harvest Community Church and an active part of their youth group. Church officials declined to comment.
Despite everything Averi went through, Jessica Rambo, a family friend, said Averi was worried about the people around her.
“She was a beautiful girl,” said Rambo, of Estero. “This family is just so strong. To be able to go through all this. They have such faith.”
Mading said the family is very appreciative for the community’s support and prayers.
The family suggests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to the Mading Foundation c/o Anchor Christian Church, 11651 East Terry Street, Bonita Springs, FL 34135 in her memory.