On Sunday, Madeleine (Maddie) Marie Sanford, 18, died peacefully at home. Maddie endured a lot since the diagnosis of rare brain tumor in September 2017. Her last fight is over and she definitely won.
Maddie was a creative and curious young woman who loved art, photography, poetry, movies, NPR, animals, and the Earth. She was an avid student of Latin, anthropology, history and politics. She was passionate about being a camper and counselor at Aloha Camp in Fairlee, Vermont, where she appreciated the focus on being one’s best self. She was a big fan of Charles Darwin, Jane Goodall, Ruth Bader Ginsburg and David Sedaris.
One of her favorite pastimes was to listen to the radio show “The Moth.” Maddie volunteered at the Westfield Library in the Children’s section and the Miller-Cory House Museum in Westfield. She attended FlexSchool and Westfield High School, from which she was graduated as a member of the National Honor Society.
She was accepted to and will receive an honorary degree from, Reed College in Portland, Oregon. With the help of The Make-A-Wish Foundation, Maddie visited the Galapagos Islands in the summer of 2018, which is considered one of the world's foremost destinations for wildlife viewing. It was truly a wish come true.
She leaves behind her devoted parents Alexandra (Richards) Sanford and Tom Sanford. She is also survived by, and will be deeply missed by, her brother Christian Sanford, stepmother Jodi Hutchison-Sanford, of Westfield, New Jersey her grandmother Helen F. Richards of Chappaqua, New York, her grandfather Fred Sanford of Milford, Connecticut, her aunt Peggy Richards and her long-time partner Steve Heffner of Sun Valley, Idaho, her uncle Robert Richards and his wife Josiane of Hampstead, North Carolina, her aunt Marie Sanford of New York, New York, and her step-siblings Elizabeth and Thomas Costello.
She is further survived by many cousins, family members and friends, who loved her dearly. Maddie is predeceased by her grandmother, Anita Sanford, and grandfather Robert H. Richards.
There will be a visitation this Wednesday, March 6, from 4 to 8 p.m. at the Higgins and Bonner Echo Lake Funeral Home, 582 Springfield Avenue, Westfield, NJ.
In lieu of flowers, we ask that you consider a donation to the Aloha Foundation, which runs the summer camp in Vermont, where Maddie spent many of her happiest days. The foundation’s website can be found at found at https://alohafoundation.org.