Pay It Forward: Maddie’s House


“If it weren’t for the Lord and Maddie, I wouldn’t be here.”

One heartbeat. Two legacies.

“She was an 18-year-old beautiful girl,” said transplant patient Dr. Sherrette Shaw-Fontenot. “Her mom calls her, her blonde, blue-eyed beauty. Full of energy. Loved everybody.”

Dr. Shaw-Fontenot knows all about sacrifice — the years studying medicine — the long hours in the office —the lessons she’s taught her three children.

But the sacrifices she makes for others wouldn’t be possible without a selfless gift from Maddie Welch.

“Our families have bonded,” Dr. Shaw-Fontenot said. “We’re family.”

Maddie was driving home from duck hunting when she was killed in a car wreck in November 2014. Dr. Shaw-Fontenot needed a heart transplant around the same time.

The two were a perfect match.

“Everything that’s happened to her medical wise has made her a stronger doctor,” said Michelle Warren, one of Dr. Shaw-Fontenot’s patients. “With Maddie’s heart, Maddie is continuing to give and to save lives.”

And while she recovered in the hospital, that new heart helped Dr. Shaw-Fontenot see a glaring need.

“A lot of these folks are sleeping in the waiting rooms, sleeping in their cars,” she said. “There’s a need and a lot of folks from here, it affects them tremendously.”

And for patients at UT Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas, that’s where Maddie’s House will come in.

“For anyone in the world, if you’re more than 50 miles out from UT [Southwestern] and you need a place to stay, Maddie’s House.”

The stand-alone facility will provide lodging for families of patients with extended hospital stays. But in order to make that dream a reality, Maddie’s House team needs to raise $3 million dollars for facilities and staff.

That’s why Michelle Warren wanted to pay it forward to Dr. Shaw-Fontenot and Maddie so they both can continue to give back to the families that need it most.

“I honor you every day,” she said. “I live life for you. I’m inspired by you. And thank you.”

With renewed purpose, that one heartbeat continues on.

If you would like to donate to Maddie’s House, click here.

Copyright 2019 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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