The Heroines

Melba Madden

is honored with a Brick from J. R. & Rhita Muci

 Melba  Madden
MELBA MADDEN -- A brief biography reflecting her life as a nurse and educator, her concern for people, and her courage and faith when confronted with a non-curable fatal illness. Her professional life was spent working with children and youth, with the aged, and as an advocate for women's rights.

In the area of public health she started out working with the poor, and then seeing a need for birth control among the poor she focused her attention on the role of family planning in community health. She later became the clinic Director of Family Planning Services for Wichita and Sedgwick County. This area of expertise was further utilized, as she became the Executive Director of Planned Parenthood of Kansas. It was during this time that Melba became politically active in the various issues and causes of women's rights.

As a school nurse in various schools in the Wichita Public School System, she conducted parenting classes and also group therapy sessions for students addicted to drugs and alcohol. During this time she was President of the Wichita School Nurse Association, and she also served as President of the kansas School Nurse Organization. During these professional involvement's she worked to secure legislation that would have a favorable impact on the health of students.

At the time of Melba's retirement from public education, she had had the symptoms of ALS (Lou Gehrig's) disease for one year and required the use of a brace on one leg. She became employed with the Via Christy Health System and worked as a psychiatric nurse, but had to resign as her disease progresses and she lost the ability to walk. She then proceeded to work out of her office at home performing reviews of medical records for attorney's who were processing claims and lawsuits pertaining to cases of personal injury liability and/or medical malpractice. She had to give this involvement up whne her upper body became paralyzed.

During the period of her illness (six years) Melba was an activist in educating people about ALS, in raising funds for ALS research, and in giving hope and encouragement to others that were afflicted with ALS. While she could still type or write she kept a journal and wrote articles about ALS for publication. When her hands and arms became paralyzed, but while she could still talk, she spoke to many different groups to heighten the public awareness of ALS. With her ability to speak almost gone she dictated final words of faith, hope, and love to friends and family with special message to each of her grandchildren.

Even when totally paralyzed and unable to speak or swallow, Melba displayed great faith, courage, dignity, and strength of spirit. With all the disease had taken from her she continued to be thankful and full of gratitude for the blessings of her life, and for each day. As long as she was physically able she was an active member of Trinity Presbyterian Church, and felt blessed to be a part of such a loving, caring fellowship.

Melba and her husband, Norval, were married 47 years. The families of their sons, Mike and Tom, and their daughter, Angela, were a continuing source of joy, and comfort. They and her husband are recipients of Melba's strength and inspiration.