Sophia Madore, a 2017 St. Michael-Albertville High School graduate, left a big mark on the high school during her time as a Knight. She was twice awarded the high school’s Student of the Year award, and she was involved in a variety of activities such as speech team, ceramics and National Honor Society. She kept active with athletics as well, as a participant in cross country, track, soccer and winter weightlifting. Now, a recent cancer diagnosis for the college sophomore has given the STMA school community the opportunity to give something back to a student who gave so much while she was here.
The STMA boys and girls basketball programs will host a double header Cancer Awareness Night on Tuesday, Jan. 22, in Sophia’s honor. All proceeds from the event will go to the Madore family. The event includes t-shirt sales, with the shirts designed by Sophia, raffle prizes, a 50/50 prize drawing and more. Raffle drawings will happen at halftime of the boys game. All games are against the Wayzata Trojans and begin at 4 p.m., with the girls’ varsity game taking place at 5:30 and the boys’ varsity game starting at 7:30. Attendees are encouraged to either wear the t-shirts from the sale or the colors yellow or teal, with teal being the color for ovarian cancer.
Sophia transitioned to college life at the University of Wisconsin-Madison a year and a half ago, where she was recently accepted into the college’s journalism school for a major in strategic communication. But stomach pains began to plague her last fall, and on the evening of Dec. 8, 2018, Sophia said she experienced severe pain after attending a swing dancing event. She called her mother, Monica, who encouraged her to get to the emergency room. With her family five hours away, 19-year-old Sophia learned she’d need to undergo emergency surgery to find the cause of the pain. Fortunately, she said a group of friends rallied around her, staying at the hospital throughout the procedure. Sophia and her family learned the next day that her stomach pains had resulted from a seven-inch, 10 pound tumor on her ovary, which they believe had ruptured the evening before. Doctors removed the tumor and one ovary, and they informed her she would need to undergo 9-12 weeks of chemotherapy to knock out the fast-growing cancer, which was diagnosed as stage 2 germ cell ovarian cancer.
Sophia is now taking the semester off while she receives chemotherapy. Fortunately, the doctors have said this type of cancer is highly susceptible to chemo drugs. She plans to return to university life in the fall.
“I’ve been shown so much love and so much support throughout all this,” Sophia said. “Having this support and being shown so much love is overwhelming, and really beautiful.”
Positive Attitude, Big Heart Carry Her Through
Sophia is the oldest of four siblings. Her younger brother graduated from STMA last spring, another sibling is a sophomore at STMA and the youngest attends St. Michael Catholic School. Her mother, Monica, works at Fieldstone Elementary. Monica said the diagnosis has been life-changing, and a whirlwind for their family.
“She’s my kid, of course, but she’s a little bit on the special side,” she said. “I’ve heard that from others, too. She’s always had this big heart.”
Megan Johnson, a STMA soccer coach, concurred.
“Sophia is the kind of kid who was nice to everyone,” Johnson said. “She makes sure everyone is included and cared for; she’s so sweet and thoughtful. Sophia would go out of her way to thank coaches after games and practices. She always has a smile on her face.”
And, despite the fact that Sophia has good reason to feel down, it seems she has carried her positive outlook into her current situation.
“This is just something I have to get through,” Sophia said, “but a lot of good things can come from bad situations. I’m super thankful for [the event], and super honored that the school is showing their support.”