Teen of the Week: Madison Evitts


(by Emily Williams/Paducah Sun)  Teen overcomes stress in face of illness

As a Crohn's survivor, Madison Evitts knows of the difficulties associated with a chronic disease.
But with a resilient spirit, she has proven to be a source of hope for others like herself.

Photo of Madison Evitts

After being diagnosed in 2016, the Graves County High School senior made plans to one day become a pediatric gastroenterologist and make the lives of irritable bowel disease patients bearable and comfortable.

"I think it will help patients with Crohn's disease to have a doctor who knows what they're going through," Evitts said. "They can come to me personally and relate to me on an emotional level because I deal with it every day."
Evitts, the daughter of Mike and Mandy Evitts, is the Paducah Bank Teen of the Week. Each Monday in the online edition and Tuesday in the print edition, The Sun features a teen selected from nominees submitted by guidance counselors throughout the region.

Near the end of the school year, one of the students will be named Teen of the Year and receive a $5,000 scholarship. An additional student will be chosen for an Inspiration Award and a $1,000 scholarship.

With a case at times so severe that she had to be put on a 90-day supply of steroids and a 15-week feeding tube, Evitts began to worry what her classmates would think of her when she began to wear a tube in her nose every day.

So she consulted her doctor, who gave her two options: either be homeschooled or take the feeding tube out every morning and put it back in every night.

"So that's what I did," Evitts said. "I did it by myself. Most people applaud me for that, because nurses tell me that's something you don't see every day, especially from a teenage girl or boy. A lot of people say it hurts, but it doesn't. It's just a lot of pressure."

After her diagnosis, she joined a support group that allows her to connect with others who have conditions like her own.

"Nobody really knows," Evitts said. "People will come up to me and ask if I'm sick that day. I look healthy on the outside, but on the inside, I'm really sick. So nobody really knows. I'm glad that we have a support group that meets and talks about it. We are each other's go-to."

Evitts has participated in several efforts to spread awareness of Crohn's Disease, including contributing to fundraisers, organizing a "Maddiecrohnies" team for a Crohn's awareness walk, designing and selling T-shirts and speaking with a teenage panel at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital about the disease.

Aside from her community activities stemming from her passion for Crohn's awareness, she has excelled in the classroom with a rigorous schedule of both high school and college courses. She is also a GCHS Varsity cheerleader.

She was selected to represent her school at the Hugh O'Bryan Youth Leadership Conference at Transylvania University her sophomore year and was the only returning student at the conference her junior year.

Currently interning with Dr. Jorge Cardenas at Paducah Women's Clinic, Evitts said the experience has increased her love for the medical field and pointed her in the right direction career-wise.

While pushing herself to achieve her goals, Evitts wants to keep others in mind while working hard, lending a helping hand wherever she can.

"I don't want to be known as the girl that was rude in school or the girl who just got good grades," she said. "I want to be known as the girl who was really nice and the girl who helped people out when she could."

She plans to attend Murray State University to gain a bachelor of science degree in nursing with hopes to become a nurse practitioner.