Beautiful young woman who took a nap and never woke up

 

Maddie Gill was "vivacious" with a zest for life.

From the day she was born she was singing and humming. The 22-year-old, with an unforgettable smile, was a born storyteller, enthusiastically informing her family every detail of her day - which often started from breakfast.

But on December 5, 2020, Maddie's young life was taken from her.

She went to lie down after work and then hours later her roommate would make the heartbreaking discovery that she had passed away. There was no warning, no alarm bells.

Maddie Gill has been remembered by loved ones as vivacious and full of life. Picture: Supplied
Maddie Gill has been remembered by loved ones as vivacious and full of life. Picture: Supplied

Maddie - who was diagnosed with absence seizures when she was in primary school - died from Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) - where no clear cause of death is determinable after a post-mortem examination.

She was healthy, she loved life and was building a strong future for herself.

Her family proudly watched on as she left the nest to move in with a flatmate, study marketing and advertising at QUT, with dreams of someday entering the workforce.

Maddie Gill was set to finish her final year at QUT before her passing. Picture: Supplied
Maddie Gill was set to finish her final year at QUT before her passing. Picture: Supplied

2021 was supposed to be her final year at university before realising her dreams.

Her death has left friends and family shattered, her mother Debra Tibbotts and stepfather Chris Tibbotts recalled the moment they knew something was wrong.

"We were at home and the local police officer came up the driveway," Chris said.

"The moment I saw him I knew something wasn't going to be good. They don't normally make visits at 10.30pm".

Maddie Gill was only 22-years-old when she passed away. Picture: Supplied
Maddie Gill was only 22-years-old when she passed away. Picture: Supplied

Debra said: "It was the worst night of my life".

"We want Maddie to be remembered as the girl with a zest for life," she said.

"She had the world at her feet and was just embarking on a wonderful journey in life and it was taken far too soon. We feel really robbed and cheated, it's just unfair."

While still grieving their beloved girl, Debra and Chris have vowed to honour Maddie's legacy by raising awareness for Epilepsy Queensland, and in particular SUDEP.

Maddie herself was a passionate advocate for Epilepsy Queensland, and felt determined to shine a light on the condition.

"She understood how important education for epilepsy was, she was such an advocate for Purple Day and talking to people about Epilepsy Queensland," Chris said.

"She wanted people to know that it's not a scary thing, a lot of people have it and just don't talk about it enough."

Debra and Chris Tibbotts picture with Maddie and her sister Lara. Picture: Supplied
Debra and Chris Tibbotts picture with Maddie and her sister Lara. Picture: Supplied

Maddie's family has already raised over $6000 for Epilepsy Queensland, money which will go into research for SUDEP.

"She would have been very proud of what we're doing," Debra said.

Epilepsy Queensland chief executive Chris Dougherty said "so much more is yet to be known about SUDEP".

"Raising funds for both research and support in this space is so very important," he said.

"Our thoughts are with Deb, Chris, Lara, Matt and all of Maddie's family and friends. The wonderful memories her family shared with us include how passionate she was about advocating for others living with epilepsy and her support for Purple Day. Purple Day is an awareness and fundraising event held 26 March around the world."

 

If you would like to contribute to the families fundraising efforts you can visit https://myimpact.epilepsyqueensland.com.au/fundraisers/debratibbotts/in-memory-of-maddie-gill.

More information can be found on the Epilepsy Queensland website.

 

Originally published as Beautiful, bright young woman who took a nap and never woke up



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