It has been a year since I first got the chance to meet Madison Thierry. It was right before her annual bike ride and she was excited to show us her collection of cat videos.
Her mother, Judge Ledricka Thierry, talked candidly about raising a child with autism.
"Everybody looks forward...." Thierry stopped for a moment as Madison runs over to console her mother. This is something that we learn about Madison, she does not want to see her mother upset. "I was in a dark place. I didn't know what to do and I couldn't believe that it was happening. It seems so unfair. You question yourself, is it something you did when you were pregnant."
It did not take long for Thierry to brush all of that aside and do what she needed to do--take care of her little girl.
That strength showed Madison that you can do whatever you put your mind to no matter how hard it might seem at the time.
"I happen to be the mother of a child with autism," Thierry said. "I feel like God is using me to be a servant on behalf of these individuals and continue to be their voice. It makes me to feel honored and grateful and to continue doing what we're doing."
Others have joined Madison's mission of spreading awareness about autism.
"I'll be on the bike with the Judge and hopefully get the Chief on the bike and we're here to support them," Jessie Bellard, St. Landry Parish president, said. "I'm asking the people of our parish to put a blue light on their porch to support the national organization and autism in general. We want families to pass by and see that we recognize autism."
"Because we have experienced violence and people always see the police cars with lights and sirens and so I like to bring it back to them in a positive way," Opelousas Police Chief, Martin McLendon, said. "We aren't always here because there is trouble or a shooting. We are here to raise awareness and let people know--because in those neighborhoods are just like Madison who experience and are dealing with autism. I like to bring it into the neighborhood and veer off the route and just the entire community know that we have concern, care, and want to share in her experience."
The girl who found strength by overcoming obstacles is helping others do the same--and bring a little light to their lives.
Madison's Bike Ride will happen on Friday, April 1st at 7pm.
They will start in front of the police station and go through Opelousas and end back at the police station.
The event is free. People are asked to bring their own bikes, helmets, and protective gear to participate.