Almost a year after surgery that removed a four-centimeter tumor from her brain, 16-year-old Maddy Dill is still battling complications that requires extensive physical therapy.

Dill, who would have started her sophomore year this fall at Desert Vista High School, had the tumor removed in February and immediately fell into a two-week coma while still in the hospital.

After waking up, she’s been down a long road of physical therapy to work through chronic tinnitus, balance problems, hearing loss, and double vision, among other things.

“It’s been a hard struggle, but she’s been really brave,” said Dill’s mom, Robyn. “We’re calling this the year of recovery.”

As hospital bills pile up on the family that has been in Ahwatukee Foothills for some 20 years, Dill’s necessary therapies are not covered by insurance.

Sherry Finzer, who was Dill’s private flute instructor for about five years before the tumor was discovered, is planning her first winter flute recital that will collect donations for Dill.

Students from Kyrene middle schools, Akimel A-al and Altadeña, as well as Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe high schools will perform in the free, holiday recital Dec. 9 at Mountain View Lutheran Church.

“It’s about creating an awareness of the family’s situation,” said Finzer, who mentioned she was shocked after hearing about Maddy’s tumor earlier this year.

Dill was always a fun student, according to Finzer, and also played in Desert Vista’s band during her freshman year.

“We have really been so grateful and so humbled by everyone’s interests in helping us out,” Robyn said.

Though no other fundraising events are planned for the Ahwatukee area, according to Finzer, the Overland Gallery of Fine Art in Scottsdale will host an art auction in January for Dill and her family.

“It’s going to be a long journey, but she’s got a lot of support that will help us get there,” Robyn added.

The holiday recital is open to the public at Mountain View Lutheran Church, 11002 S. 48th St., this Sunday, Dec. 9 at 3 p.m. Donations will be collected during the recital.

A Wells Fargo account has been set up for the Dill family as the “Friends of Maddy D Medical Expense Fund.” For more information on how to donate to the fund, email Finzer at

• Contact writer: (480) 898-4903 or Follow on Twitter: @_dianamartinez.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.