We spoke to Marcella Detroit, vocalist, guitarist and songwriter best known in the UK as one half of Shakespear’s Sister about her experience of losing a neice at the tender age of 5 months old. 

About 6 years ago my sister gave birth to twins, a boy named Cooper and girl named Madison.  At 5 months old little Madison was found not breathing in her crib and it was determined to be “accidental suffocation”. It was a very sad and traumatic event for my sister and her hubby and all of our family. I wanted to do something for my grieving sister and her husband.  I bought an actual “star” for Madison which you can do on a site called the International Star Registry. You can pick the constellation of the Star and name it whatever you like, you get a map of it and an official document.  I named the star “Madison’s Light”. It then inspired me to write the song, again, entitled, “Madison’s Light”.

I wanted to do more for my sister to help them to heal. I was determined to create a charity in Madison’s memory and I began all the official paperwork necessary to establish it.  Since the event of her daughter’s passing, my sister, who is a schoolteacher in Michigan, has been raising money via the school she works with from fundraisers of all kinds and awarding it to the child (or rather I should say teenager since the school is what we call in America, a High School, ages 14-18) that my sister determines to be most in need.  It’s not been a huge amount of money but it’s enough to help someone pay for books for college/university or whatever else they might need it for. I wanted to help make it “official” so to speak and created the charity.

It’s only been in the last few months that the charity has gained official status and we can now start collecting funds. The child selected to receive the award will be determined by my sister, locally, in the school where she teaches. Maybe in the future we will expand, but for now, that’s the m.o. But it’s all good and it feels great that my sister is able give something and help someone who needs it.