Battling the loss of a parent

Senior Madalynne Thornton discusses the importance of sports and staying positive in coping with the loss of her mother.


Photo By: Jasmine Chavez

Senior Madalynne Thornton cheers on her team during her game against Steele. She holds the title of captain of the team and libero.

It is more than sports to senior Madalynne Thornton.

Losing anyone is hard. Losing your mom to cancer in your senior year of high school is heart-rending.

Senior Madalynne Thornton lost her mom to a rare form of cancer on July 6, 2021, after a year-long battle. Even with this tragic situation, she stays not only successful but positive in varsity volleyball and softball.

“Once you hear the word cancer, you don’t really know what to expect,” Thornton said.

Thornton’s mom, Lorie Ann Thornton, was diagnosed with large cell neuroendocrine carcinoma in March 2020. She put everything between them aside and was there for her mom until the end.

 “I was becoming more like my mom, so we would bump heads. But when she got sick, we just put everything aside and we became closer than ever. Through it all, she never stopped being a mom,” Thornton said.

When you lose a loved one, many people shut down and stop living their lives how it was intended. Madalynne sees it in a completely different light. She knows, and is self-aware, that her mom wanted her to live her life to the fullest.

“My mom would always tell me… one day, if she did pass, to live our lives and to ‘live within her’,” Thornton said. “One thing she never wanted us to do was to stop living.”

One way Madalynne ‘lives within her’ is through her athletic abilities and achievements. Thornton is the captain of the volleyball team as well as a state finalist in softball. Through every game, she knows her mom is with her.

“I look at the stands during my games because my dad sets up my mom’s little red chair that she used to sit in,” Thornton said. “I look at the seat and picture her cheering me on and just being there in the stands.”

Even with such a great loss, she stays positive even when it’s the hardest. 

Madalynn’s mom, Lorie Ann Thornton, presents her with her state runner-up medal at the championship game in Austin. (Photo By: Provide by Madalynn Thornton)

“Being able to stay positive is all within my mom. She put it in us at such a young age to be good and how to be positive and I think it worked,” Thornton said. “Even though it’s so much harder now with her not here, I know she is here on my shoulder telling me to be happy and to be positive.”

Sports have always been very important to Thornton and her mom. Her mom was her biggest supporter, going as far as presenting her with her state runner-up medal.

“I know one thing my mom would have wanted me to do was to continue to play sports and just to keep going. Playing sports has become so much easier knowing this is what she wanted me to do,” Thornton said.

Even now with her mom gone, Thornton knows she is always there.

“I play with her by my side. Even when I make a bad play or I don’t hit a ball, she’s right there yelling in my ear telling me I shouldn’t have done that. When I play, I have her spiritually right there with me,” Thornton said.

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