INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – An Indiana University student and a Brownsburg High School alum is remembering her childhood friend Maddy by finishing their bucket list alone.
Alexandra Jones and Maddy Justice grew up together.
“We did everything together,” Jones said. “We were like sisters.”
One day, when Alex and Maddy were making a cake, they dared each other to eat a handful of sprinkles. They decided then that they would make a bucket list of 101 things to do together.
“Big and small,” Jones said, scrolling down the list. “Blindfold each other and do makeovers, get highlights, go to Paris. We told each other when we got older we would do whatever it took to finish the list.”
Unfortunately, the girls didn’t get that chance.
Maddy was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 13. She fought for two years, undergoing 11 chemotherapy treatments, radiation, stem cell transplants, blood transfusions and more.
“Hundreds of procedures,” her mom, Marizel Justice, said.
Maddy died when she was 15-years-old.
“She was just like, this light,” Jones said, smiling. “Always.”
The night before Maddy passed, Alex promised that she would finish their bucket list even if it meant doing it on her own.
Since Maddy died, Jones has been working to cross each item off the list. With help from Fire by the Monon, she completed one more item this month. The girls wanted to make and name their own sandwich.
“She liked bacon,” Jones laughed. “It’s a barbecue bacon cheeseburger, like a classic. Something everybody would like.”
Jones named the burger the “Keep on Shining Burger” after the Justice family’s non-profit organization.
In honor of September, which is pediatric cancer awareness month, Fire by the Monon offered to donate a portion of the burger sales to Riley Hospital for Children. The owner, Joe Cominsky, told CBS4 they’ve sold hundreds of sandwiches so far.
“Anything we could do to be involved,” he said.
The Justice family says even though their life has changed significantly since losing their beloved Maddy, they are happy to see her friends carrying on her legacy.
“She loved her friends, she loved Alex,” Justice said. “The list is just a part of her.”
Justice hopes to spread awareness about childhood cancer. She told CBS4 she didn’t realize how underfunded childhood cancer research is until her daughter was in the hospital.