Skip to main content

MISD Student Athlete Loses Vision, But Not Her Great Attitude

Mar 23, 2015 02:27PM ● Published by Kevin

Jobe eighth grader Mady Walker. Photo courtesy of Mansfield ISD.

In the span of nine months, Linda Jobe Middle School student Madelyn Walker went from being a volleyball player and competitive dancer to losing her vision and using a wheelchair for assistance.

“I couldn’t see peripherally in my right eye, and then it just started getting worse,” said the 14-year-old who goes by Mady. 

“In August of 2013, she woke up one day and told me, ‘Momma, I can’t see,’” said Mady’s mother Kati Walker, the principal’s secretary at Jobe. “I said, ‘What do you mean you can’t see?’ and she said, ‘My vision’s really blurry.’”

After an MRI, doctors discovered that Mady had optic neuritis, an inflammation of the optic nerve that causes blurred or dimmed vision.

Later that month, Mady started losing feeling in her right leg. She now uses a brace to help her walk and utilizes a wheelchair for longer distances because she gets easily fatigued.

Doctors think she suffers from mitochondrial encephalomyopathy, lactic acidosis, and stroke-like episodes—better known as MELAS syndrome. The disease affects many of the body’s systems, particularly the brain and nervous system.

The eighth grader has been given a life expectancy of mid-30s. Although the news shocked the Walker family, they said they try to always keep a positive outlook about it. 

(L-R) Jobe girl's athletic coordinator Stephanie Upshaw, Mady Walker, and mother Kati Walker. Photo courtesy of Mansfield ISD.

“I’m still in denial about the whole thing,” said Kati Walker. “Sometimes, I wake up and think she’ll be all better. But you just have to do what you have to do and take life one day at a time.”

Mady’s diagnosis hasn’t stopped her from staying active in school. She is student council president, bassoon player in the Honors Band, and member of the National Junior Honor Society.

Even with all of her activities, Mady said she misses being in sports.

“I was only able to play in one volleyball game last school year before my vision started getting worse, and I couldn’t even try out for basketball,” said Mady. “I never really got a chance to say goodbye to sports.”

That is, until Thursday night.

Jobe girl’s athletics coordinator Stephanie Upshaw wanted to give Mady one last chance to play on the court again. She coordinated with the coach at T.A. Howard Middle School to allow Mady to shoot the basketball one more time in a competitive game.

“Mady is an outstanding student and person with an outstanding attitude,” said Upshaw. “She might not have this opportunity again, so we wanted to make it happen for her.”

Mady Walker scoring two points for her team. Photo courtesy of Mansfield ISD.

The play went as planned, and Mady made the shot—a move that finally brought her closure.

Mady still has big plans for the future. She wants to be a neonatal nurse and continue living life as usual. She hopes that her story can help people learn to always be grateful.

“Never take anything in life for granted because you could wake up one day, and it could be taken away from you.”



Special to Mansfield Magazine, as originally appeared on Mansfield ISD's blog. For the original story, click here.

Community Chatter

Here are some of our favorite comments on the blog article from the community. Share yours with us in our comments below.

Maddy is truly an amazing person! She was a student of mine in my 4th grade classroom and had that same positive attitude then. I am so glad that Coach Upshaw and her Jobe family gave her the closure that she needed. I know she has a very supportive and loving family at home and school who will always be there to help her in her journey. Love you, Maddy! - P. Hudson

Mady was in my kindergarten class. She is so kind to others. She just knows what others need, and does it. I have had the privilege of seeing her grow up through the years. She is one of a kind. There are just a few students who stand out from year to year. She is definitely one of those kids. Mady and the Walker family will always have a special place in my heart. Love you Mady! - Amanda Schatz

I sometimes think to myself what it would be like in her shoes and I instantly have a feeling of gratitude and pitty. Although, Maddy still comes to school with a smile every day,and I truly believe she is the strongest person I have ever met or will ever meet... - Archie

Like what you're reading? Subscribe to Mansfield Magazine's free newsletter to get regular updates



Embed this content on your website

Embed
Today, Community mansfield isd high school sports girls basketball girls volleyball competitive dancing
  • Holiday Grease Roundup

    12/14/2017
    08:00AM

    Don't pour your holiday grease down the drain—round it up and recycle it for free instead! Hol...


  • Photos with Santa at Traders Village

    12/14/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Santa photos at Traders Village start on November 25th. Kids of all ages can have their photo tak...


  • Shop for handcrafted finds and support the local artisans responsible for them. Each local artisa...


  • Traditional Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/14/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Bring the kids and drop in for one of Vetro’s Traditional Ornament Help-Create events, *select da...


  • Extreme Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/14/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Unleash your inner elf during Vetro’s Extreme Ornament Help-Create events, *select dates and time...


  • Holiday in the Park 2017

    12/14/2017
    02:00PM — 10:00PM

    Holiday in the Park is back for select days from November 17-January 7 at Six Flags Over Texas. I...


  • Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market

    12/14/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    The Lone Star State is about to get a lot brighter as Enchant, The World's Largest Christmas Ligh...


  • 2017 Magical Winter Lights

    12/14/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Magical Winter Lights is a spectacular, larger-than-life festival that presents a fresh multicult...


  • Prairie Lights 2017

    12/14/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Prairie Lights is the state's premier holiday drive-through park featuring more than 5 million li...


  • Cirque Du Soleil Varekai

    12/14/2017
    07:30PM

    After 15 years of performing around the world and thrilling more than 11 million people, Varekai ...


  • Holiday Grease Roundup

    12/15/2017
    08:00AM

    Don't pour your holiday grease down the drain—round it up and recycle it for free instead! Hol...


  • Photos with Santa at Traders Village

    12/15/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Santa photos at Traders Village start on November 25th. Kids of all ages can have their photo tak...


  • Shop for handcrafted finds and support the local artisans responsible for them. Each local artisa...


  • Extreme Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/15/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Unleash your inner elf during Vetro’s Extreme Ornament Help-Create events, *select dates and time...


  • Traditional Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/15/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Bring the kids and drop in for one of Vetro’s Traditional Ornament Help-Create events, *select da...


  • Holiday in the Park 2017

    12/15/2017
    02:00PM — 10:00PM

    Holiday in the Park is back for select days from November 17-January 7 at Six Flags Over Texas. I...


  • Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market

    12/15/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    The Lone Star State is about to get a lot brighter as Enchant, The World's Largest Christmas Ligh...


  • 2017 Magical Winter Lights

    12/15/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    Magical Winter Lights is a spectacular, larger-than-life festival that presents a fresh multicult...


  • Fireside Holidays at Four Seasons

    12/15/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Don't get your tinsel in a tangle this holiday season trying to figure out fun things to do with ...


  • Prairie Lights 2017

    12/15/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Prairie Lights is the state's premier holiday drive-through park featuring more than 5 million li...


  • Interlochen Lights 2017

    12/15/2017
    07:00PM — 11:00PM

    "Texas Best" Christmas Lights (as voted by the viewers of the Texas Country Reporter TV Show) are...


  • Cirque Du Soleil Varekai

    12/15/2017
    07:30PM

    After 15 years of performing around the world and thrilling more than 11 million people, Varekai ...


  • Holiday Grease Roundup

    12/16/2017
    08:00AM

    Don't pour your holiday grease down the drain—round it up and recycle it for free instead! Hol...


  • Winter Chemistry (5Y+)

    12/16/2017
    09:00AM — 10:00AM

    The days are getting shorter, and the weather is getting colder. No snow in Texas? No problem...


  • Gingerbread Workshop Extravaganza

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    It’s that time of year! Lights are being strung, stockings are being hung and the creation of con...


  • Breakfast with Santa at Four Seasons

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    The jolly ol' elf joins Four Seasons Dallas for breakfast and holiday crafts. Kids, bring your C...


  • Photos with Santa at Traders Village

    12/16/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Santa photos at Traders Village start on November 25th. Kids of all ages can have their photo tak...


  • Brunch Time!

    12/16/2017
    10:30AM — 11:30AM

    Watch our resident critters enjoy their Brunch every Saturday at 10am! Our arachnids and amphibia...


  • Painting in the Park

    12/16/2017
    10:30AM — 12:00PM

    Join us for a nature-themed painting class at Oliver Nature Park. An artist will guide you step-b...


  • Shop for handcrafted finds and support the local artisans responsible for them. Each local artisa...


  • Invasive Species (16y+)

    12/16/2017
    12:30PM — 01:30PM

    Plants and animals that are not native to an area can spell trouble for the ecosystem. What a...


  • Extreme Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/16/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Unleash your inner elf during Vetro’s Extreme Ornament Help-Create events, *select dates and time...


  • Traditional Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/16/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Bring the kids and drop in for one of Vetro’s Traditional Ornament Help-Create events, *select da...


  • The Nutcracker 2017

    12/16/2017
    02:00PM

    Join the Art Ballet Academy on a magical trip to the land of the Sugarplum Fairy, waltzing snowfl...


  • The Mansfield Public Library presents the Dallas Puppet Theater featuring lively, hand-crafted ma...


  • Holiday in the Park 2017

    12/16/2017
    02:00PM — 10:00PM

    Holiday in the Park is back for select days from November 17-January 7 at Six Flags Over Texas. I...


  • Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market

    12/16/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    The Lone Star State is about to get a lot brighter as Enchant, The World's Largest Christmas Ligh...


  • 2017 Magical Winter Lights

    12/16/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    Magical Winter Lights is a spectacular, larger-than-life festival that presents a fresh multicult...


  • The Nutcracker 2017

    12/16/2017
    06:00PM

    Join the Art Ballet Academy on a magical trip to the land of the Sugarplum Fairy, waltzing snowfl...


  • Prairie Lights 2017

    12/16/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Prairie Lights is the state's premier holiday drive-through park featuring more than 5 million li...


  • Winter Solstice Celebration - a Free Event

    12/16/2017
    06:30PM — 09:30PM

    Entertainment highlights the Winter Solstice Event presented by the Labyrinth Walk Coffee. Admiss...


  • There will be live music from Scott Welmaker and Hambone Radio, succulent BBQ from Big D BBQ, dri...


  • Interlochen Lights 2017

    12/16/2017
    07:00PM — 11:00PM

    "Texas Best" Christmas Lights (as voted by the viewers of the Texas Country Reporter TV Show) are...


  • Cirque Du Soleil Varekai

    12/16/2017
    07:30PM

    After 15 years of performing around the world and thrilling more than 11 million people, Varekai ...


  • Feel the excitement as the Las Colinas Symphony Orchestra celebrates a Holiday in Vienna! Joined ...


  • Holiday Grease Roundup

    12/17/2017
    08:00AM

    Don't pour your holiday grease down the drain—round it up and recycle it for free instead! Hol...


  • Photos with Santa at Traders Village

    12/17/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Santa photos at Traders Village start on November 25th. Kids of all ages can have their photo tak...


  • Gingerbread Workshop Extravaganza

    12/17/2017
    11:00AM — 05:00PM

    It’s that time of year! Lights are being strung, stockings are being hung and the creation of con...


  • Shop for handcrafted finds and support the local artisans responsible for them. Each local artisa...


  • Traditional Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/17/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Bring the kids and drop in for one of Vetro’s Traditional Ornament Help-Create events, *select da...


  • Extreme Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/17/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Unleash your inner elf during Vetro’s Extreme Ornament Help-Create events, *select dates and time...


  • Holiday in the Park 2017

    12/17/2017
    02:00PM — 10:00PM

    Holiday in the Park is back for select days from November 17-January 7 at Six Flags Over Texas. I...


  • Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market

    12/17/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    The Lone Star State is about to get a lot brighter as Enchant, The World's Largest Christmas Ligh...


  • 2017 Magical Winter Lights

    12/17/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Magical Winter Lights is a spectacular, larger-than-life festival that presents a fresh multicult...


  • Prairie Lights 2017

    12/17/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Prairie Lights is the state's premier holiday drive-through park featuring more than 5 million li...


  • Interlochen Lights 2017

    12/17/2017
    07:00PM — 11:00PM

    "Texas Best" Christmas Lights (as voted by the viewers of the Texas Country Reporter TV Show) are...


  • Cirque Du Soleil Varekai

    12/17/2017
    07:30PM

    After 15 years of performing around the world and thrilling more than 11 million people, Varekai ...


  • DFW Solar Awareness Day

    12/18/2017
    12:00AM

    Hello! We are putting together a day for solar awareness in the DFW area! Talk to your friends...


  • Mansfield Sunrise Toastmasters

    12/18/2017
    07:00AM — 08:00AM

    Want to be better at negotiating your salary with your boss? Networking at business functions? Pi...


  • Holiday Grease Roundup

    12/18/2017
    08:00AM

    Don't pour your holiday grease down the drain—round it up and recycle it for free instead! Hol...


  • Photos with Santa at Traders Village

    12/18/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Santa photos at Traders Village start on November 25th. Kids of all ages can have their photo tak...


  • Shop for handcrafted finds and support the local artisans responsible for them. Each local artisa...


  • Traditional Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/18/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Bring the kids and drop in for one of Vetro’s Traditional Ornament Help-Create events, *select da...


  • Extreme Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/18/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Unleash your inner elf during Vetro’s Extreme Ornament Help-Create events, *select dates and time...


  • Holiday in the Park 2017

    12/18/2017
    02:00PM — 10:00PM

    Holiday in the Park is back for select days from November 17-January 7 at Six Flags Over Texas. I...


  • Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market

    12/18/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    The Lone Star State is about to get a lot brighter as Enchant, The World's Largest Christmas Ligh...


  • 2017 Magical Winter Lights

    12/18/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Magical Winter Lights is a spectacular, larger-than-life festival that presents a fresh multicult...


  • Prairie Lights 2017

    12/18/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Prairie Lights is the state's premier holiday drive-through park featuring more than 5 million li...


  • Interlochen Lights 2017

    12/18/2017
    07:00PM — 11:00PM

    "Texas Best" Christmas Lights (as voted by the viewers of the Texas Country Reporter TV Show) are...


  • Holiday Grease Roundup

    12/19/2017
    08:00AM

    Don't pour your holiday grease down the drain—round it up and recycle it for free instead! Hol...


  • Photos with Santa at Traders Village

    12/19/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Santa photos at Traders Village start on November 25th. Kids of all ages can have their photo tak...


  • Shop for handcrafted finds and support the local artisans responsible for them. Each local artisa...


  • Traditional Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/19/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Bring the kids and drop in for one of Vetro’s Traditional Ornament Help-Create events, *select da...


  • Extreme Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/19/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Unleash your inner elf during Vetro’s Extreme Ornament Help-Create events, *select dates and time...


  • Holiday in the Park 2017

    12/19/2017
    02:00PM — 10:00PM

    Holiday in the Park is back for select days from November 17-January 7 at Six Flags Over Texas. I...


  • Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market

    12/19/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    The Lone Star State is about to get a lot brighter as Enchant, The World's Largest Christmas Ligh...


  • 2017 Magical Winter Lights

    12/19/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Magical Winter Lights is a spectacular, larger-than-life festival that presents a fresh multicult...


  • Prairie Lights 2017

    12/19/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Prairie Lights is the state's premier holiday drive-through park featuring more than 5 million li...


  • Interlochen Lights 2017

    12/19/2017
    07:00PM — 11:00PM

    "Texas Best" Christmas Lights (as voted by the viewers of the Texas Country Reporter TV Show) are...


  • Holiday Grease Roundup

    12/20/2017
    08:00AM

    Don't pour your holiday grease down the drain—round it up and recycle it for free instead! Hol...


  • Photos with Santa at Traders Village

    12/20/2017
    10:00AM — 05:00PM

    Santa photos at Traders Village start on November 25th. Kids of all ages can have their photo tak...


  • Shop for handcrafted finds and support the local artisans responsible for them. Each local artisa...


  • Extreme Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/20/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Unleash your inner elf during Vetro’s Extreme Ornament Help-Create events, *select dates and time...


  • Traditional Ornament Help-Create Events

    12/20/2017
    02:00PM — 06:00PM

    Bring the kids and drop in for one of Vetro’s Traditional Ornament Help-Create events, *select da...


  • Holiday in the Park 2017

    12/20/2017
    02:00PM — 10:00PM

    Holiday in the Park is back for select days from November 17-January 7 at Six Flags Over Texas. I...


  • Enchant Christmas Light Maze & Market

    12/20/2017
    05:00PM — 11:00PM

    The Lone Star State is about to get a lot brighter as Enchant, The World's Largest Christmas Ligh...


  • 2017 Magical Winter Lights

    12/20/2017
    05:00PM — 10:00PM

    Magical Winter Lights is a spectacular, larger-than-life festival that presents a fresh multicult...


  • Prairie Lights 2017

    12/20/2017
    06:00PM — 09:00PM

    Prairie Lights is the state's premier holiday drive-through park featuring more than 5 million li...


  • Interlochen Lights 2017

    12/20/2017
    07:00PM — 11:00PM

    "Texas Best" Christmas Lights (as voted by the viewers of the Texas Country Reporter TV Show) are...


 

Image title
Mansfield Area High School Sports

Community Champions