Cheerleader lifted community's spirit despite her cancer

Madeline McTier, in a photo with her mother, became a positive influence on the east Coweta community. Photo/Special.

The East Coweta High School cheerleader who made such an indelible impression on the community and many around the world passed away Sept. 10 after an 18-month battle with cancer.

Seventeen-year-old Madeline McTier is remembered as a person possessing an unrivaled spirit that made her an inspiration to many.

Madeline was diagnosed with brain cancer in March 2012. The high school junior, ECHS varsity cheerleader and competitive cheerleader with ACE in Peachtree City passed away on Tuesday at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta.

“Madeline had an amazing spirit. The minute you were around her you were in a better place,” ECHS Principal Evan Horton said Wednesday. “She did (much) to bring this school and community together. She was a positive influence. That’s her legacy.”

Horton said that the diagnosis did not alter Madeline’s attitude or outlook.

“My wife and I visited her during the summer at rehab. She was asked to do five push-ups but she tried to do 10,” Horton said, his voice nearly cracking as he spoke of the young woman he held in such high regard. “She was a fighter. She fought hard and had a positive outlook. As a principal I’m a better person for having known Madeline.”

Horton also remarked about how the loss of Madeline was affecting her schoolmates.

“The kids are sad. They lost a classmate and friend,” Horton explained. “But she’ll live on as a part of East Coweta High School. The kids are resilient and they are handling it well. I have a lot of respect for them.”

Madeline’s fight with cancer and the spirit she displayed was recorded on her Facebook page, “Prayformadeline.” The page on Wednesday had more than 9,400 “likes” and was filled with messages of love and appreciation for the girl whose life and spirit extended far beyond the geographical boundaries of east Coweta County.

“A person close to the family said the miracle in all this is the lives around the world that this child touched,” Horton said.

UPDATED Sept.15 — A visitation was held Saturday from 3-6 p.m. at McKoon Funeral Home located at 38 Jackson Street in Newnan. The memorial service was held Sept. 15 at 3 p.m. at Crossroads Church located at 3620 Ga. Highway 16 in Sharpsburg. The family requested those attending the memorial service to wear pink clothing.

Rather than flowers, the family requests contributions to the Madeline Fund at any Bank of Georgia branch or by mail at 10 Baynard Park, Newnan, Ga. 30265. The Madeline Fund will make contributions to organizations and charities to honor the passions in her life, according to McKoon.