‘Such a joyful person’: Parents recall Monroe girl, 12, following her death this week

The parents of a 12-year-old Monroe girl who lost her battle against cancer this week said they’re comforted knowing that, for the first time in years, she’s not suffering.

But that hasn’t made it any easier for the parents of Madison Smallwood, a seventh-grader who died Tuesday after being diagnosed with osteosarcoma, a bone cancer, four years ago.

“I am beyond devastated that my precious, beautiful, brave, strong, courageous, inspiring daughter is no longer here with me on Earth,” said Lori Smallwood, Madison’s mother. “I tell myself that she is pain-free and finally being a normal kid after all these years.”

Madison’s father, Ryan Smallwood, said he felt “empty inside,” but also was thankful his daughter no longer is in pain.

“She just had this glow about her, and she brought out the best in people,” he said. “Such a joyful person.”

He was asked his message to other fathers: “Let your kids know how much you love them, how special they are to you.”

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Nancy Stratton, principal at Monroe Elementary School, said Madison “spread love and hope across our school community” whether that was through her smile or the positive messages she left in the building, such as “Be kind to everyone.”

Stratton called Madison “a courageous young lady and daily demonstrated her strength and fight.”

Funeral arrangements are incomplete.

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