Madison Charland with her parents Sherri and Eric Charland. Madison is now in remission from leukemia, but blood drives in her honor have helped over 700 people in need. Contributed / Sherri Charland

She may be just 2 years old, but Madison Charland has inspired hundreds of people to donate blood – enough to help over 750 patients who needed transfusions.

Madison’s uncle, Scarborough firefighter Jeremy Moreau, has hosted four blood drives since the Biddeford toddler was diagnosed with leukemia when she was 10 months old in March 2021. A fifth drive is planned at the Scarborough Public Safety Building in her honor on Sept. 9.

According to the American Red Cross, the three most recent drives resulted in 252 units, or over 33 gallons of blood, being donated – well above the average of 30 units usually given at a community blood drive in Maine. One unit of blood is enough to supply three patients, meaning a total of 756 people have been helped.

“It’s amazing,” said Madison’s mother, Sherri Charland. “I just think it’s overwhelming that all these people want to come out and help donate.”

Madison, who needed more than 10 blood transfusions before going into remission later in 2021, even caught the attention of donors across the country when her picture and story were featured in the American Red Cross’ email campaigns.

“I thought it was only going out to New England, but we got a response from someone in Indiana,” Moreau said. “A few months after that, we got one from a lady in Wisconsin, so she’s been helping the Red Cross get people to donate country-wide.”


The first drive was held Dec. 29 of last year, when the Red Cross, which provides over 40% of the nation’s blood, was experiencing a severe shortage. While they are no longer in an “extreme situation,” blood is always needed and there’s often just a five-day supply on hand.

Madison Charland has helped raise 252 units of blood in the three most recent drives in her honor. The average for a single community blood drive in Maine is 30 units. Contributed / Sherri Charland

“At the best of times, the need for blood is constant,” said Mary Brant, communications manager for the Northern New England Region. “That blood has a shelf life of just 42 days.”

About one-third of people in the United States are eligible to donate blood; the other two-thirds are disqualified for reasons ranging from health conditions to medications. Of those qualified, only 10% donate, equating to just 3% of the nation’s population.

“Many, many people will call in; ‘I take this medication or that medication,'” Brant said, directing potential donors to call 1-800-RED-CROSS. “Don’t assume that you can’t donate. Definitely call and check.”

To sign-up for the Sept. 9 blood drive in Scarborough, visit

Madison is one of many children and adults who have felt the impact of the last year’s blood shortage, when the Red Cross routinely had less than a day’s worth of supply on hand. One of her 10 blood and platelet transfusions was delayed by 24 hours until a match was found in New Hampshire.


“I feel truly blessed because if people didn’t donate blood then Madison wouldn’t be able to have any,” Charland said. “That’s lifesaving. If there’s no blood there, then Madison’s life could have been a lot different.”

Before the shortage, Madison’s family took on-demand blood for granted.

“It can happen to someone or their family member at any point in time,” her uncle said. “Make an effort to donate and not just wait for someone else to do it. Try to be that person who does it.”

Madison is now out of remission and in a “maintenance phase” where she receives chemotherapy at monthly clinic visits. She does it with “a smile on her face,” Moreau said.

“I don’t know how she does it,” he said. “She’s just a strong little baby. She’s stronger than anybody else I know.”

While Madison and her family will continue to take things “one day at a time,” they are also beginning to set their sights on the future.

“I don’t know what she’s going to do in life but I think she’s here on Earth for a special reason,” Charland said. “We’re going to look back at it when she gets older and show her how strong she was. She’s a strong baby.”


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