3-year-old Nalina lost her dad at the young age of one. Although she is young, she believes that her ‘daddy’ is keeping watch over her from Heaven.
Her dad, Jake Madonia, died from sarcoma – a type of cancer that attacked the tissue around his bones and organs. He battled fiercly for ten years until he could no longer fight. Jake committed himself to caring for others as a nurse, and was treated as a patient at the very place he was employed at – Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center.
On the anniversary of her dad’s passing, Nalina, her mom, Lorrina, and many other loved ones wanted to honor him by carrying out his love-filled passion – helping those on the frontline. Jake loved to eat – especially good, hearty Buffalo food – and his compassion and appreciation for his healthcare colleagues ran deep.
“We created an online fundraiser and raised $1,500 and with ‘Team Madonia – The Lotus Flower Giving Society’, created in Jake’s honor, we matched that, totaling $2,500 for WNY Feeds the Frontline,” says cousin, Emily Ciraolo.
That was enough to provide 250 meals to healthcare heroes.
The Lotus Flower Giving Society’s mission is to support finding a treatment and cure for sarcoma – a disease that impacts not just adults, but kids as well. The organization also financially helps patients fighting this rare and unique disease living in Jake’s hometown of Western New York.
There is significant meaning behind this name that Emily says relates to Nalina.
“Jake chose it purposefully, just as he and his wife chose their daughter’s name. Her name is of Indian origin and means ‘lotus’. Like the lotus in the mud…out of darkness comes light. Jake adored his daughter and truly felt she was the light that he and Lorrina needed as his 10-year fight against cancer loomed over them.”
Being able to give back to frontline workers through this meaningful act of kindness certainly gave Nalina, Lorrina, and so many others who knew and loved Jake a burst of hope and lasting energy.
If you wish to learn more about other ways Jake’s infectious kindness is being remembered, click here to head to their Facebook page.