Celebrating Maddie: Overflow seating planned for public service

John Joyce
  • A Celebration of Life for Dover's Maddie Hill will take place Wednesday at the Church of the Open Door.
  • More than 1,000 people are expected to attend the service for Hill, 19, who battled Leukemia for 11 years.
  • Hill's three-round, decade-plus-long fight with her recurring cancer inspired the battle cry #FightLikeHill.

The public is invited to attend a Celebration of Life service remembering Dover Township's Madison Hill, scheduled for 11 a.m. Wednesday at the Church of the Open Door located at 8 Carlisle Court in West Manchester Township.

Church officials said the service will take place in the sanctuary, but given the expected turnout, overflow seating will be available in the gymnasium.

"Just our church alone, we have over 1,500 people," the Rev. Don Heindel said.

Maddie Hill, 19, of Dover Township, died June 29 after battling Leukemia for more than a decade.

Live Stream: While not all in the congregation were connected to Hill, they have prayed together for her many times over the last few years, he said. Those members who will attend the service, combined with the vast number of community members who knew Hill, could push Wednesday's anticipated attendance north of a thousand.

"With the Dover kids, the students and teachers, I would not be surprised if over 1,000 people show up," Heindel said. "What we are going to do is simulcast it into the gym. It will be like an overflow where people can go to watch the service on the big screen."

Dover's Maddie Hill fought to the end

Maddie: Known as "Maddie" to those who knew and loved her, the 19-year-old who had been battling Leukemia off and on since she was 8 succumbed to the cancer at her home June 29, but not before inspiring untold numbers of friends, loved ones and fellow cancer survivors to #FightLikeHill.

The hashtag became a mantra, not just for Maddie, but also for those she came across whether at Dover Area High School, where she starred on the varsity soccer team, at Green Valley Pool and Sports Complex, where she worked as a life guard and taught children to swim, or at the many Relay4Life, Four Diamonds Fund and other cancer research fundraising campaigns she was a part of.

Maddie also was heavily involved at Penn State York, where she attended classes and was a member of the Blue and White Society and THON committee.

"It has been a long haul for her," Heindel said.

PHOTOS: Maddie Hill candlelight vigil

So, come Wednesday morning, the people Maddie touched in life will join together to remember her legacy — one built over three bouts with cancer in 11 years — to share memories of Maddie on the pitch or in the pool, and to remind one another that no matter how many lives the "Dreaded C," cancer,  has claimed or will claim, those who remain should do as Maddie did and continue to #FightLikeHill.

— Reach John Joyce atjjoyce2@yorkdispatch.comor on Twitter at @JohnJoyceYD