CROTHERSVILLE, IN (WAVE) - Nearly one year ago, a 22-month-old boy in Seymour, Indiana nearly drowned after he found his way outside and into a pool. Quick action from family and neighbors were able to save Maddex "Maddie" Elicio's life but left him with brain damage.
Family, friends and strangers filled a Crothersville, Indiana park Sunday to help raise money for Maddie's treatments and awareness to water-related accidents and deaths with children.
Maddie's mom, Christeen Elicio, said last August her life changed and so did Maddie's.
"He was a totally normal, almost two-year-old. And now, he's totally dependent in every way," she said.
Maddie nearly drowned last year, accidentally getting into a pool.
He came close to losing his life.
"He was resuscitated, I think it was 40 minutes without a heartbeat that they were doing CPR," she said.
"I want to do as much as possible to help the family get Maddie the treatment he deserves," said Kim Rickard, who helped to organize the fundraiser Sunday at the park. Proceeds from a silent auction and event will all go toward Maddie's stem cell treatments.
His mother said just one round of the stem cell treatment brought big changes for Maddie - he was able to go off oxygen, is now able to track movement in his eyesight and his personality is coming through again.
"Laughing out loud, like whole heart laughs, smiling constantly, reacting to everything in some kind of fashion," Christeen said.
People at the park may not know Maddie, but they want to help.
"Pitching in. And that's what a community is about and that's what's good about Crothersville," said Dara Burnett, Crothersville, Indiana.
"I believe it was part of God's plan to have us involved and have a part in helping Maddie get better again," Rickard said.
Events like Sunday's bring Maddie another step closer toward recovery. The afternoon brought in around $1,200.
His family said they're grateful for the gifts that will help strengthen their boy.
"Everything we've done wouldn't have been possible, let alone what we can do, without everyone's help," Christeen said.
Along with finding treatment for Maddie, the family says they want to spread awareness about pool safety so parents with children never have to go through something like this.