Old Crow Medicine Show comes to the Valley in fundraiser for pediatric cancer patients

MaDee Nicole Boxler
MaDee Nicole Boxler. Photo courtesy The MaDee Project.

By Rebecca J. Barnabi
For Augusta Free Press

FISHERSVILLE — MaDee Nicole Boxler, a 2006 graduate of Fort Defiance High School, was pursuing a double major in Criminal Justice and Psychology at Roanoke College when severe pain in her stomach led her to the emergency room late one night.

Boxler and her family were not expecting what doctors told them in the following days.

Boxler was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She fought cancer, graduated from college in December 2009 and prepared for transplant surgery with the hope of beating cancer.

But, on Feb. 16, 2010, she succumbed to complications in preparation for transplant surgery. She was 22 years old.

Old Crow Medicine ShowThat Oct. 24, on what would have been her 23rd birthday, Boxler’s family founded The MaDee Project, a nonprofit dedicated to providing financial assistance for families with children battling cancer.

On Sept. 18, the nonprofit will host its first big fundraising event since the pandemic began. Old Crow Medicine Show will perform outside at Augusta Expo at 7 p.m.

“So, we’re sort of celebrating our 10th anniversary during our 11th year,” said Tamara Talley-Campbell, Boxler’s mother and president of The MaDee Project.

She said the concert was planned for 2020 but Augusta Expo closed during the pandemic. This year, The MaDee Project will still make the concert a celebration with six to eight food trucks attending who are winners from the seven years of food truck battles the nonprofit has hosted.

In 11 years, according to Talley-Campbell, the nonprofit has helped 85 families.

“That’s just amazing to me. That’s just been the ones we’ve known about,” Talley-Campbell said. More children in the area battle cancer who do not receive assistance from the nonprofit because the nonprofit does not know about them.

Talley-Campbell said she thinks that her daughter, MaDee, would be smiling knowing the nonprofit founded in her name has helped children.

“I think it has been amazing. I think it has been a good effort to help families in need, because I know what that’s like,” Talley-Campbell said.

The nonprofit’s goal has always been to assist 25 families at any given time. Right now, 20 families are under assistance.

“And, we continued to help our families all during COVID,” Talley-Campbell said.

Fundraisers could not be held for the nonprofit, so each family received less each month than usual in assistance.

“I think they all understood,” she said.

The MaDee Project held its annual golf tournament last October outside — its only event in 2020. And in the spring, held its annual mother-daughter tea outside.

“It helps that we have these absolutely beautiful venues in the Valley,” Talley-Campbell said.

In May 2010, Talley-Campbell and MaDee’s older sister, Abby Boxler Arey, attended Roanoke College’s graduation ceremony. When MaDee’s name was called and they walked across the stage to accept her degree, the graduates and family members in the audience stood.

Talley-Campbell said the family still celebrates MaDee’s birthday every year.

She tells her grandchildren, Arey’s son and daughter, stories about when MaDee and Abby were growing up.

“We’ve tried to honor her memory as much as we can,” Talley-Campbell said.

Talley-Campbell said she would like to thank the Staunton, Augusta County and Waynesboro community “for always supporting The MaDee Project and helping as many families as we can.” Nonprofits need the support of their local community.

Gates open at 5 p.m. on Sept. 18.

Tickets are available on the official website of Old Crow Medicine Show and The MaDee Project.

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