The Working Mom by Kay Luna

Maggie’s Choice

Thursday, April 1st, 2010 10:51 am


Maggie Wiederholt of Walcott, Iowa, was 12 years old, and she was dying. She couldn’t do anything to change that.

But she could control how she would live in the time she had left.  So, she set about to accomplish her “bucket list” of things she wanted to do in her short life.

One of the most important things on that long list: Maggie wanted to spread the word about Behcet’s disease, which is the rare condition that killed her.

And it has been my honor to help Maggie fulfill that wish.

For several months, I’ve worked with Quad-City Times photographer John Schultz to document Maggie’s end-of-life journey. I’ve written and written. And cried. And written some more.

Now, after extensive planning and teamwork with a lot of my colleagues, who helped us through it all, we’re finally ready to share it with you. This special five-part series will start Sunday, April 4, in the Quad-City Times.

You can also see it online at

It’s a project unlike anything we’ve ever done before at the Quad-City Times. But then again, we’d never met anyone quite like Maggie.

If you want to hear me talk about the project on Mix 96 radio, here’s the link:

Please take a few moments and check out this special project — for Maggie. Thank you!

7 Responses to “Maggie’s Choice”

  1. Jama Says:

    OH my gosh, where have I been?! I had no idea she had passed away. I met and interviewed Maggie once when I was in the newsroom. She was such a fun-loving little girl and her mother was SO dedicated. I cant wait to see this series.

  2. Heidi Gilliland Says:

    Maggie was an amazing little girl and her family continues to be amazing in fulfilling her every wish. Maggie will never be forgotten and the strength that she showed throughout her life, but especially in her final hours will allow others to live with and embrace their every day troubles, and most importantly help the world to find a cure for Bechets so that some day other children and families will not have to suffer as Maggie and her family have.

    Thank you for covering this story and for giving us a raw, indepth look at the disease that took such an amazing person too early!

  3. Rachel Says:

    Thank you so much for writing this story and keeping Maggie’s memory alive each and everyday! I look forward to seeing the photos and hearing your story. I will read it to my daugther so she can remember Maggie each and everyday.

  4. Tori Says:

    I can not wait to see what you have written. I met Maggie thru my old job and had the pleasure of visting with her a few times. She was a wonderful little girl with a huge heart made of gold. Whenever we saw her she always had Bella with her. The two of them just shinned brighter bc of each other. Who knew a dog could do that to a little girl. She will be missed by many, but I the impact she made on all our lives will live on forever. Thank you for doing this story in her honor.

  5. Julie Says:

    Maggie’s story shows what courage looks like. What an amazing child. My heart breaks for her family. God has his angel back home in heaven again. Her job here on earth, as short as it was, is done. The rest is up to those of us left. I know for me, I won’t be complaining about aches and pains any more as I know it could be a lot worse. Right up to the very end, Maggie was the most beautiful child. Her story touch my heart as well as my husband’s.
    Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family and to all who knew and loved Maggie.

  6. David Says:

    The format breadth of this story is, in a word, outstanding. My heart goes out to Maggie, her family, her doctors, and her community. I share my respect and admiration with all of those people and you, the members of the Quad-City Times. I encourage you to apply for the Pulitzer. Please consider making your application if, for nothing else, to share Maggie’s story to an even wider audience and to show the nation how to present such an important human story.

  7. Donna Savary Says:

    Hello, I am Maggie’s Aunt (Diane’s sister). Just wanted to thank you for writing such a BEAUTIFUL series about Maggie. You wrote it with such love and compassion we can tell it came truly from your heart. As you know it was so important to Mags that her story be told. We hope and pray that it will help and no other child ever has to go through all that Maggie did. I know she is looking down from heaven giving both you and John 2 thumbs up!
    God Bless!

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