Walk-a-thon at Exeter High School aids children with disabilities

·2 min read

Oct. 17—Dozens of people gathered at Exeter High School Sunday morning to celebrate and raise funds for children in need and their families.

The third annual Maddie's Miracles walk-a-thon returned to a full in-person format after being held virtually in 2020 because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Madeline Nordhoy was born with an extremely rare genetic disorder now known as Wiedemann-Steiner Syndrome. To honor their daughter and help families that might struggle to take care of their children with severe disabilities, Erik and Sue Nordhoy started Maddie's Miracles three years ago.

"We want to raise as much money as we can to start helping families of handicapped children and children with disabilities that desperately need help for things that insurance doesn't necessarily cover," said Maren Nordhoy, Maddie's sister and event-planner,

The organization has helped six families so far, Nordhoy said.

Most of the help has been in home modifications such as remodeling bathrooms to make them easier to use. The organization also helped a family get a handicapped accessible van.

"A lot of the kids we've helped so far have Duchenne muscular dystrophy," Nordhoy said. "It's so heartwarming to know we can help."

"You think about the daily tasks that are so easy like showering or brushing your teeth," Nordhoy said. "It's really not that easy for some of these parents. It's a constant struggle, it's a constant task. Just to be able to do something so little but so big and meaningful for them at the same time."

Right now, the organization is focused on helping families in Berks County but has hopes of expanding to other areas.

Families can be nominated to receive help at www.maddiesmiracles.org.

The first year the event was held between 100 to 200 people came out and Nordhoy was hoping to see 200 come out again.

The organization has raised $30,000 through its previous walk-a-thon.

While the event is billed as a walk-a-thon, it is more of a community day, Nordhoy said. The event featured an obstacle course, vendors and a silent auction.

"We want to bring the community together to hang out, celebrate and raise money for one common cause," she said.

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