Tweetsie Trail “a godsend” to family with health issues


Nine-year-old heart patient now rides Tweestie Trail

Tammy Childress

Madison Able was born prematurely with a condition known as Atrial Septal Defect (ASD). The congenital heart defect allows blood to flow freely between the heart’s left and right atria. The condition worsened this year to the point that, according to Madison’s mother Angel, “She virtually had a hole in heart and blood was beginning to go to her lungs. If we didn’t have it repaired, she could have drowned.”

Madison Able rides the Tweetsie Trail. (Photo by Angel Able)

Madison Able rides the Tweetsie Trail. (Photo by Angel Able)

Nine-year-old Madison underwent surgery in February of this year at Vanderbilt Children’s Hospital in Nashville to close the growing hole. Said Angel, “The surgeon at Vanderbilt said that Madison’s surgery was the most perfect he had seen. It was as though the implant was being pulled into place… no adjustment was ever needed. It went into place the first time.”

Madison’s doctors released her to do light exercise after a few months of restrictions and the first thing she wanted to do was learn how to ride her bike without training wheels so she would be able to ride the Tweetsie Trail.

Earlier this summer, Madison’s doctors gave the go ahead, so she shed the training wheels and started riding. Since she began biking the trail on a weekly basis, her physical conditioning has improved to the point where she is able to dance again and is getting stronger every day.

“The Tweetsie Trail has been a Godsend for us,” said Angel. “I have back and leg problems and the trail is so level I can easily walk it, so not only does it help Madison with her health, it helps me with mine.”

Able prayed that Madison’s life would be a testimony to others and that God would give them a way to share about the grace and healing that Madison has received. Walking on the trail has made the sharing of her faith that much easier. “We are usually on the trail about two to three hours each time we go. It is not unusual for us to run into whole families walking on the trail. It’s so peaceful, it’s easy to share with people and invite them to church.”

Able’s church, Apostolic Christian Church, sits about halfway down the trail, so when she invites people to visit she can show them the church building.

Kenneth Davis, spokesman, Apostolic Christian Church, said, “The trail gives Madison a place to get out and not just ride in circles. There are kids all over that have health problems that will benefit from the trail. As far as we’re concerned it’s good for the whole community.”

Davis expects the trail to be heavily traveled when it’s opened to the public and the church wants to help. “The Turkey Trot had 4,000 people and it was 18 degrees,” said Davis, who is excited to see how many people will be on the trail for the Tweetsie Trek Aug. 30.

“We want to be a service to our community,” said Davis. “In order to do that we are going allow parking at our church for the trail, as long as it doesn’t become overwhelming.” Anytime there is an event we’d like to help. We are thankful that after all these years that there’s not a dead railroad track in front of us. It has life.”

And, like Madison, it can look forward to that life being long and healthy.



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