CINCINNATI — WCPO 9 Chief Meteorologist Steve Raleigh and his wife, Julie, lost their young daughter, Madi, on Jan. 17, 2019.
The Raleighs have established Madi's House in her memory to support young adults battling addiction and mental health issues.
Here, in Steve's own words, is Madi's story. Watch it in the video above:
"My daughter’s life began like your son's or daughter’s – as a happy little child who knew nothing more than smiles and fun.
"In fact, for Madi, times always seemed like a day at the beach, as she was always happy. Madi loved the outdoors and adored animals. Madi enjoyed participating in theater and honestly had a nice singing voice!
"And Madi started as a young cheerleader both on the field ... and always for her two brothers and sister. In fact, family was everything to Madi.
"My other daughter, Chelsea, once said, 'Madi was someone who just wanted to be loved and give love. You always would find her rocking cowgirl boots and dancing around, even if there wasn’t a person in sight.'
"And yet, while Madi’s wonderful spirit lived life, trapped inside my daughter was a traumatic event that happened as a young girl that she wouldn’t share for years. Attempting to mask the pain, Madi went down the dark path of addiction.
WATCH Julie Raleigh guide Tanya O'Rourke through the Madi's House annex:
"My wife and I faced very painful times as she went through those years. Finally, Madi had what I always call a moment of clarity. Madi wanted to stay healthy.
"Madi attended meeting after meeting. But there was still the difficulty of someone truly caring and understanding her difficulties. I remember Madi’s words so clearly: 'If only there was a place to go where people could understand me and I could just hang out!'
"My wife and I did our best to keep Madi engaged. Yet, depression set in and she thought she had become a burden as this mental illness worked deeper.
"During Madi’s eulogy, my wife shared these words:
“'I promise right here tonight, Madi did not pass away in vain and that her work here on earth will continue through her family and friends.
"'Madi lost her battle to the evils of addiction and mental health. I declare war on these two diseases.”'
You can donate to Madi's House and learn more about it madishousecincy.org/.