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Maddie James Foundation Raises $1 Million for Seaside Learning Center at Ocean Institute

Private dedication and naming ceremony for the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center is scheduled for June 11—Maddie’s birthday.

If she were still alive, would no doubt be thrilled with her birthday gift to celebrate what would have been her short 6 years.

Following three months, 35 fundraising events and an outpouring of support from thousands of people across the nation, the Maddie James Foundation has succeeded in raising $1 million for the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center at the Ocean Institute in Dana Point.

To honor this occasion, a private dedication and naming ceremony will take place June 11—Maddie’s birthday.

“It is our pleasure to announce that we are full steam ahead with our plans to build at the Ocean Institute," said Dan Stetson, president and CEO of the Ocean Institute.

"Words can't express how remarkable the past few months have been. The Ocean Institute is truly privileged to have connected with the Maddie James Foundation and to honor Maddie's passion for the ocean."

Maddie's Dream and the Ocean Institute

Maddie James was a 5-year-old from Dana Point who died from a pediatric brain cancer called diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) in March after being diagnosed in January.started the foundation shortly before Maddie’s last days to help build the Seaside Learning Center at the Ocean Institute—Maddie’s favorite place to visit. At a sold-out gala at the St. Regis Monarch Beach on May 20, the Maddie James Foundation succeeded in raising the final $484,000 of the $1 million in funds for the Seaside Learning Center to become the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center.

Construction on seaside center will begin in the fall and will take about 16 weeks to complete. A series of learning stations will provide an immersion-style education on ocean life and preservation, and will include an "ocean science dock" and a "maritime history pier."  To learn more, visit ocean-institute.org/get_involved/SLC.html.

"While we have suffered a terrible tragedy, we have experienced profound compassion, inspiration, and hope from those that have helped us realize Maddie’s dream," said Kajsa James, Maddie's mother and president of the Maddie James Foundation. "I’ll never forget Maddie's birthday, but June 11 also will represent a day that marks the commemoration of her everlasting memory at the Ocean Institute.”

The Future of the Maddie James Foundation: Ocean Education for Children

The Maddie James Foundation will continue to support ocean education programs for children, and will continue to support the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center at the Ocean Institute by organizing an annual Mile for Maddie event. A Mile for Maddie was one of the foundation’s most successful community fundraising events. A family-friendly walk along the coastal bluffs in Dana Point overlooking the Ocean Institute, A Mile for Maddie attracted 1,000 participants and raised nearly $100,000 this year.

The 2012 event will be scheduled soon. Visit amileformaddie.com for updates.

" will become a Dana Point tradition that will celebrate the spirit of community and generosity that helped to build the Maddie James Seaside Learning Center, and ensure that it will continue to be a place for all to enjoy," said Collie James, Maddie's father and board member of the Maddie James Foundation. "What we’ve been able to accomplish since March is the beginning of what will become the foundation's work to educate children about the ocean, and to share Maddie's love of the ocean with children that otherwise might not have the means to experience it the way that she did."

To learn more about the Maddie James Foundation or to make a donation, visit: maddiejamesfoundation.org. The Maddie James Foundation can be found on Twitter @MaddieJamesFdtn and Facebook.

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