Debby Rowland and Maddie Harrison have developed a bond over a well-loved piece of fabric.
Debby, who started the non-profit Kids Capes of Courage, which sews “super-hero” style capes for children in need of some courage, met Maddie in 2015 and gave her a cape featuring a whimsical sock monkey print in teal, lime green and pink.
“Maddie got four surgeries out of that cape,” said her mother, Jenessa.
Maddie, 11, said she feels like “Captain Strong” when she wears the cape.
Clearly it has given her the strength she has needed to re-learn how to walk 3 times in her young life. But the cape has also been a soft, familiar companion to hold through those surgeries, including a selective dorsal rhizotomy which has helped Maddie control the spasticity associated with her cerebral palsy.
Last week, WKYC TV reporter Amani Abraham was at the hospital doing a story on Debby and the hundreds of volunteers who help her cut fabric and sew the capes as a labor of love. Maddie received a new cape – this one bright yellow and featuring purple angel wings.
Giving it her best “Captain Strong” effort, she pulled herself from her wheelchair and onto her own two feet. The new cape was positioned on her front, bib-style, but the beloved sock monkeys were there too. They always have Maddie’s back.