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By Carolyn Green 

Published on February 12, 2015

The campus of WWU has been rocked this week by an accident involving one of our own. Madison Baird, better known as Maddy, was a 20-year-old sophomore Spanish major with a pre-professional focus in nutrition and dietetics. Late Tuesday afternoon, Maddy left the Atlas, donned her reflective orange vest, and started riding her bike down Whitman Drive toward the setting sun. Some minutes later, a truck that was also heading westbound collided with Maddy and emergency services were called. She was flown by Life Flight to Harborview Hospital in Seattle, where after undergoing emergency procedures, Maddy died Wednesday evening, surrounded by her family and close friends. 

Madison Baird. Photo by ASWWU Photo.

Maddy was an organ donor, and because of her, eight others will live. Dr. Art Giebel, Maddy’s father, shared these words on Facebook: “She loved Jesus with a passion that she wanted to share with each and every one she encountered. We continue to pray and know that Madison would want her life shared with others through organ donation. Above all, she would want to share the joy of knowing Jesus and your fellowship when Jesus returns.” 

While Maddy spent her last hours surrounded by her family and friends, she was a member of many families. She belonged to the WWU family, the Walla Walla Valley Academy family, the Big Lake Youth Camp family, and so many more who claimed her as sister and friend. 

Since Tuesday night, social media has been filled to the brim with love and prayers from all over the world. Friends have posted countless photos with an ever-smiling Maddy, recounting the best of times together and sharing stories of how this one young woman made moments and days and lives better. 

A vigil commemorates the passing of Madison Baird. Photo by ASWWU Photo.

Maddy was smart, adventurous, radiant, and full of life. “My heart is heavy tonight. This light that shined bright for Christ has been lost too soon. May we all have a little extra zest and love for life and Christ just like Maddy did. Dear Lord, please come soon. This is not our home,” said Alex Drury, former WWU student and current student at Loma Linda School of Nursing. 

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May we embrace life in the way that Maddy did. May we be passionate, may we be thoughtful, may we take challenges in stride, and may we love in such a contagious way. 

“Embrace today and thank God for all He has done.” – Maddy Baird.  

#MaddyStrong is a beautiful Way to live. 

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