Friday, January 20, 2017
I see that I did not comment here on my friend Madison's Defler's illness. Sadly, she passed away Saturday January 14th. She was 20. She was diagnosed in November 2015 with a rhabdomyosarcoma behind her right eye. She went through chemo and radiation and in August 2016 was declared cancer-free. Her family and friends rejoiced.
Sadly, 6 weeks or so later followup scans showed the cancer was back, in her brain and spine. She underwent more chemo and other therapies but this time the results were only good for a time, but the overall trend was bad. She finally succumbed this Saturday, in the presence of her family and some close friends.
I got the word Saturday night and while I guess I was not actually surprised, it hit me very hard. I've known Madison since she was 10 or so -- we met at Sherwood, of course. We spent a lot of time together on the ice and I got to see her grow from a spunky, sweet young girl into a smart, talented, hardworking, beautiful, and still spunky young woman. She had graduated in June 2015 and had started college at Chapman University, pledging the Delta Delta Delta sorority. Shortly after she got her diagnosis.
I flew up to Portland Wednesday night and attended the memorial service at her synagogue (Shaarie Torah), then the graveside service. I had never attended a Jewish funeral. It was beautiful, but hard. So many skating family were there, though, including coaches Ikaika, Shannon, Krissy, Sonya and Kelli, Zena and Emmy, Karly and her mom, Sierra, Kris C., Casey and her parents, Aziza and her mom, and so many more. It helped a lot.
My heart goes out to the Defler family and all her family and friends. She will be missed.