EXCLUSIVE: Madison Novo at all times knew she needed to make a distinction in youngsters’s lives.
Rising up, she was a affected person at Florida’s Joe DiMaggio Youngsters’s Hospital from ages 12 to 14. In 2015, docs recognized the now-18-year-old with prothrombin gene mutation and unspecified kidney failure.
Regardless of the daunting expertise, Novo mentioned it was the Hooters ladies who visited that made her really feel she wasn’t only a sickly affected person who couldn’t spend time together with her pals. Novo shared that she needed to turn out to be a Hooters lady in hopes that she will be able to make different youngsters in her group really feel they aren’t alone throughout their battles.
Novo spoke to Fox Information about her private well being journey, why she needed to be a part of the favored restaurant franchise, as nicely the misconceptions she feels individuals nonetheless have concerning the model at this time.
Fox Information: As a baby, you had been a affected person at Joe DiMaggio Youngsters’s Hospital. What occurred?
Madison Novo: After I was about 11 or 12 years previous, I began having actually unhealthy abdomen pains. I used to be by no means a sick child rising up. I by no means had any issues. I used to be tremendous, tremendous wholesome. But it surely simply bought worse. My mother took me to the ER and it took about two years of me going out and in of Joe DiMaggio Youngsters’s Hospital to be lastly recognized with a few issues. They discovered I’ve a blood dysfunction referred to as prothrombin gene mutation.
It’s exhausting to clarify that to a younger lady on the time. Even now that I’m 18, I nonetheless have a little bit of bother understanding it. However mainly, my white blood cells assault themselves. After which they recognized me with a gastritis illness. Then in between my two years, because of all the drugs that I used to be getting, I had unspecified kidney failure in-between all of that.
Fox Information: How did you make sense of your well being points as a baby?
Novo: It was very, very exhausting, particularly as a younger teenage lady. All I needed to do was hang around with my pals. I imply, there’s not a lot you are able to do at that age apart from going to the mall *laughs* however it undoubtedly took a toll on my childhood. I used to be on the hospital and unable to do a lot.
Fortunately, the workers at Joe DiMaggio Youngsters’s Hospital is so wonderful, particularly with my household. I actually felt prefer it was my house away from house. The workers did their greatest to ensure I used to be snug each single day that I used to be there. They might at all times do arts and crafts. And they’d at all times have volunteers just like the Hooters ladies come and hang around with us. In order that’s just about how I made the scenario somewhat higher.
Fox Information: Some individuals might not know that Hooters ladies go to hospitals and spend time with youngsters. What was that have like for you?
Novo: It’s really fairly humorous. My older sister had labored at Hooters for some time. So I already knew that they had been extra than simply waitresses, however I didn’t know a lot about it. However at Joe DiMaggio Youngsters’s Hospital, they might arrange a plan for the week, and every single day could be an occasion. I bear in mind simply someday being there, on the checklist, it mentioned, “Be part of us for lunch with the Hooters ladies” in one of many rooms they’d.
The Hooters ladies would drop off meals and speak to the sufferers. I bear in mind hanging out with them for the primary time and I spent couple of hours with them. It was good as a result of my mother, a single mother, was capable of take a break, calm down and eat some actually good wings *laughs*. And I used to be capable of spend time with these younger girls who took my thoughts off of the place I used to be for the time being. I actually linked with them.
They may have simply dropped off the meals and saved it transferring. However they actually took the time to sit down down with me, be taught what I used to be going by way of and speak to my mother. It made us really feel at house. It made us really feel like we weren’t at a hospital. In such a darkish time, they actually had been so supportive and type. It actually made an enormous distinction throughout a scary and irritating time.
Fox Information: You went on to turn out to be a Hooters lady at age 18. Why?
Novo: You already know, my expertise was truthfully a giant a part of why I needed to turn out to be a Hooters lady. Due to what I noticed at Joe DiMaggio. After I noticed these ladies taking day out of their day returning to the hospital, actually chatting with the dad and mom and hanging out with the sufferers, I knew it could be a terrific job.
However I additionally needed to offer again to my group. That’s actually all I’ve been eager to do as a younger lady, even earlier than I entered Joe DiMaggio. And I felt Hooters might assist me give again to the group whereas I labored.
Fox Information: How essential was it so that you can give again, particularly to youngsters?
Novo: Tremendous, tremendous essential. Being a type of youngsters who had been in want at one level in my life, I knew I needed to give again, no query. It was such a tough time for me to be on the hospital. I felt like a few of my center college years had been simply gone as a result of we had been all making an attempt to determine what was taking place to me. And in the course of all of that, these ladies got here and frolicked with me. They by no means made me really feel like I used to be a affected person. And also you don’t know the way a lot that meant to me. So I need to do the very same factor.
Fox Information: What are among the issues that you simply presently doing for kids?
Novo: Sadly with the coronavirus pandemic, we will not do an excessive amount of now. Nevertheless, we’ve been packaging meals and taking it to Joe DiMaggio Youngsters’s Hospital. We wave to the sufferers, blow air kisses – issues like that by way of the window. We are able to’t actually go to them, however we do what we are able to throughout these exhausting instances. However earlier than the pandemic, I used to be a part of the American Most cancers Society with Relay for Life. I’ve volunteered on the Ronald McDonald Home. I’m actually trying ahead to after we can do extra, particularly after the 12 months we’ve had.
I bear in mind I had gone to the hospital with my co-worker. We had simply packaged meals so we are able to drop it off. There was somewhat boy who was coming down. I suppose he was simply discharged from the hospital. He noticed us and was simply so excited.
It was such a stupendous second as a result of he was just a bit boy. I don’t suppose he was older than 9 years previous. However I bear in mind simply how excited he was to see us and having the ability to stroll out. We gave him a coloring ebook and his mother some wings and fries. It was just a bit factor like a coloring ebook, however it was wonderful to see his pleasure, understanding he was being launched. I keep in mind that feeling. It actually adjustments you and I need to be part of that.
Fox Information: What are some misconceptions you’re feeling individuals have about you as a Hooters lady?
Novo: I feel individuals simply bounce to conclusions *laughs*. Once they see a lady in shorts and a tank prime, they robotically suppose it’s tremendous provocative and tremendous not what we needs to be doing proper now. However we’re a lot extra. I do know so many ladies who’re learning and excited about their futures. They’ve goals of turning into legal professionals and docs. A few of them are additionally wives and moms. There’s simply a lot extra to Hooters than simply the orange shorts and tank prime.
Fox Information: Is it true you’re a part of their calendar?
Novo: Yeah! It was a extremely enjoyable and straightforward course of… I bought to put on my tremendous cute swimsuits and shoot with plenty of the women that I do know… I bear in mind seeing my picture and really being speechless. I used to be working and utterly elsewhere in my thoughts. However then a cake was introduced in they usually introduced it to your entire [restaurant]. I simply seemed actually, actually stunning. And it was wonderful as a result of earlier than I used to be only a affected person who seemed as much as these ladies. Now I’m one in every of them.