DANVILLE, Ill. (WCIA) – Loved ones say Madison Baker could light up any room with her sense of humor. But one morning, tragedy struck.
“She died on Monday by hitting the back of a semi and lost her life. She was an amazing person,” Baker’s aunt, Tiffany Perez, said.
Illinois State Police say a semi-truck was stopped at an intersection on Route 1. Baker didn’t slow down in time, and rear-ended it.
“It just breaks our hearts that she left this world the way she did,” Perez said.
Baker’s family and friends all say it’ll never be the same without her. Especially for her 2-year-old son Kyler – who they say she loved more than anything.
“Her son really loves her. And she did everything she could to make sure he had it all,” Baker’s sister, Arianna Baker, said.
In less than a week, Perez organized a benefit to cover funeral expenses and support her son. It drew hundreds of people.
“Only having a few days to put everything together, I was really shocked it turned out the way it did,” she said.
They say the turnout shows just how many people loved her – and how her life revolved around family and friends.
“She was always there for her sisters, no matter what. She’d give them the shirt off her back,” Perez said.
“I’m not ready to live this life without her,” Arianna Baker said.
It was a bittersweet day full of laughter, tears, and celebrating her 21 years of life.
“She was always happy. She loved her son to death. She was the greatest mom, daughter, niece anybody could ever ask for. And we’re really going to miss her,” Perez said.
Perez hopes people can learn from Baker’s story.
“I just ask for everybody to pay close attention to what they’re doing. I mean, your life can change in the blink of an eye,” she said.
She wants to prevent other families from suffering the same tragedy.
“Whether you’re walking, talking, driving… Nobody should have to lose their lives the way she did,” Perez said.
If you’d like to help, Perez said they’re still accepting cash and online donations. She said you can also purchase a t-shirt or hoodie on her Facebook page or Rachel Hubbard’s Facebook page.