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Pietzman honors student in battle against cancer

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — State representative-elect Randy Pietzman (R-Troy) only made one campaign promise during this election cycle.

“I don’t like making promises I can’t keep,” Pietzman said. “So I wanted to be sure about it.”

Pietzman’s promise wasn’t to a voter. He didn’t promise to fight Obamacare or higher taxes. Pietzman promised a young girl from Elsberry, Missouri that if he won his election, he would ask her to accompany him as his date to the annual legislative ball.

Pietzman made the promise to Maddie Olson, a then-13-year-old girl who was battling cancer in her brain and spinal cord. Now, with the legislative ball barely more than one week away, Maddie has been cancer free for about 200 days, and she’s secured a dress for the event.

Pietzman and Maddie Olson earlier this month
Pietzman and Maddie Olson earlier this month

“She never really had a dress or anything like that for something like this, but I know her family has got her one now,” Pietzman said. “There was initially concern about whether her health would permit her to go.”

Maddie Olson’s mother, Jessica, is the reason Maddie and Pietzman first met. It was early during Maddie’s battle with cancer when her mother called up Pietzman, who was spending the day setting up campaign yard signs.

“I could tell it was a very emotional day and situation for her,” Pietzman said. “She basically said, if I’m elected, what am I gonna do for people like her daughter? And I thought to myself, well what can I do? There’s only so much. But if there’s some kind of way I can make her feel special, well, that would be something.”

Pietzman soon met Maddie and the two got along swimmingly. Over the course of the spring and the summer and fall campaigns, Pietzman kept in touch with Maddie and her mother, even helping to promote Maddie’s Facebook page of support. He visited her in the hospital and, a few days before Christmas this year, they exchanged gifts.

Maddie turned 14 earlier this month, and continues to remain cancer free. Her hair has begun to return, thanks to chemotherapy slowly turning into a distance memory instead of a regular occurrence. Her outlook is good, Pietzman said. The freshmen representative said he understood quickly that there was little he could do in his capacity as an elected official to help Maddie.

But as a person, Pietzman said, the answer was obvious.

“Maddie has a million-dollar smile and a very witty personality,” Pietzman said. “Oe thing that really impressed me was her concern for her mother and her pets when she was in the hospital. She has a very selfless attitude. Anything you can do to make her feel special.”

The gala event is on January 7th in the state capitol.