HAMPTON, Va. - A Hampton mother is speaking out months after her young daughter died following a bout with brain cancer.
Over time, the community followed Maddie Davis's story and supported her in her journey.
“She was a brave and kind girl,” Maddie’s mother, Melanie Davis, said.
The sound of wind chimes and signs around Melanie Davis’s Hampton home remind her that Maddie is always with her.
“She's everywhere I need her to be, except for sitting right here on this bench,” Davis told News 3.
It's been nine months since Maddie, 11, died following her cancer battle.
Just five days before her death, a community came together for a car parade to honor Maddie.
“That was her celebration of life,” Davis said. “That was her kind of send-off.”
One room inside the Davis home is where Maddie spent her last moments - and where other moments live on.
“Her room is the most comfortable room in the house. I sit in there every day,” Davis said.
Maddie underwent numerous surgeries and treatments. Melanie recalls one time when her daughter got a 20% chance of surviving 10 years.
“Your battle changes from saving her life to one of making it the best that you can while you can,” she said.
Maddie’s family turned to cannabis to help with treatment. At one point, Melanie said her daughter took 300 mg of THC a day.
The film, "Little but Fierce," chronicled Maddie's battle and her experience taking cannabis as part of her treatment.
"It gives a really good insight into her and how she was more than just her disease," Davis said. "She was a happy, active, full child who used cannabis to maintain that quality of life."
“She was the one jumping off the diving board. She was the one on the balance beam. She was the one running and jumping and playing, and the only difference that we saw was that she was on cannabis,” Davis added.
Now, Melanie is honoring her daughter by advocating for adult-use marijuana legalization in Virginia after Gov. Ralph Northam introduced legislation and announced his support for the issue last year.
Governor’s Office Press Secretary Alena Yarmosky released this statement to News 3:
“Governor Northam sends his deepest sympathies to Ms. Davis on the loss of her daughter. As a pediatric neurologist, he understands firsthand how effective cannabis can be in the treatment of certain ailments—which is why he previously pushed for the legalization of medical marijuana. He is grateful for Ms. Davis' willingness to share her family's story and for advocacy as the Commonwealth pursues full legalization for adult marijuana use. This effort is about social equity and public health, and he looks forward to the bill reaching his desk.”
Along with adult-use legalization, Davis would like to see personal cultivation allowed.
“If I would've been able to grow her plants, I could've made her medicine myself and I would've known what I was making it with,” Davis said. “I would've known what was in it instead of blindly trusting someone across the country to give me untested, unverified, unreliable medicine that came when they really felt like putting it in the mail.”
Melanie Davis hopes to see change.
“So that her [Maddie's] fight to get the life that she deserved is not in vain, and that others don't have to go through the same struggles,” she said.
She also hopes to see others be kind as a tribute to a girl she calls a blessing, a gift, strong and fierce.
“She was a light to everyone that knew her,” Davis said. “She served her mission, and I know I will see her again.”