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MANDY ZOE LATHIM
March 13, 1994 ~ July 18, 2012
~ Our Sweet Baby Girl ~
On March 13, 1994, a small light began to shine as Mandy Zoe Lathim entered the world. There were complications during the pregnancy leading to a grim prognosis. But in true Mandy style, she overcame those odds and so began her story.
Her first years were spent frolicking with friends and her big brother 'Bubbie' in her mom's in-home daycare. The "daycare years" were filled with laughter, dancing, silly songs, pumpkin patches, Winnie the Pooh, playing dress up, trips to the zoo, swimming lessons, birthday parties, swing sets and sprinklers. It was a magical time of innocence and pure joy that Mandy reflected back on throughout her eighteen years.
When Mandy started kindergarten in 1999 at Chinook Elementary it was clear right from the start that she was "a little different" from most kids her age. Throughout her school years teachers would say, "Mandy is an old soul trapped in a little tiny body." Her view of the world was profound and it wasn't long before she began her love affair with writing. She was writing poetry before her 8th birthday. She seemed to see the world through beautiful figurative language that she would weave into words that would unfold into powerful poetry that would have inspired even the most seasoned writers.
Mandy's life was not always easy, and when her skies were no longer blue, her writing became her armor that helped pull her through.
No matter what challenges she faced, she never wavered in her belief that her life should have purpose. That purpose became clear to her as her passion to help others, especially those dealing with homelessness, began to surface. She was involved in a variety of community service work, but it was the things she did when no one was looking that showed her true integrity; things like handing out hot chocolate and cookies to people living on the streets, and as fall faded into cold winter nights, she always made sure she had hand-warmers in her car so for at least a few hours they'd feel the warmth of a stranger's hand in their's. A couple of weeks before she died, she posted on her Facebook page, "Love holding hands with a stranger." She felt her purpose was to help others, and she did that, whether it was helping the homeless or stopping to help someone who dropped their books, to sitting with someone who looked lonely at the lunch table. She had saved a quote on her phone, "Laughter is the sun that drives winter from the human face."
Her bright smile and contagious laughter
certainly led others to follow her lead.
Here are some of the things Mandy loved; people, quiet times of reflection, being a part of, writing, drawing, fighting for what's right, advocating for others, her Mountain View High School family, laughing and making others laugh. Mandy loved all things gymnastics. She loved her team and was each and everyone of their personal cheerleader at every event. Before she even turned 16 she set her sights on becoming a coach at Naydenov Gymnastics, where she taught students as young as three. She loved her job. Miss Mandy was everyone's favorite teacher. She would come home from work covered in chalk, smelling like a sweaty gym, exhausted, and flash that big beautiful smile of hers and laugh with such pride as she would share stories about all of her students. She was born to work with kids and was considering majoring in child psychology when she began school this fall at Western Washington University.
On July 1st Mandy and three friends left Vancouver to spend a week on the beaches of Santa Cruz, CA. The trip was a graduation gift from her mom and Mandy was ecstatic as she left early that morning. Shortly after crossing the California boarder they were involved in a roll over accident. Mandy was ejected from the car (she had taken off her seatbelt moments before the crash to reach for something). She was life flighted to Mercy Medical Center in Redding, CA. She survived three major surgeries and remained in a coma for 18 days. On July 18th, Mandy died peacefully in her Mama's arms.
Mandy's final purpose was to save the live's of countless other's. She was so proud when her driver's license arrived in the mail with the little red heart on it, meaning she was an organ donor. Less than 6 months before she died she told her mom, "I don't understand how anyone wouldn't want to help other people live after they die." and so she did.
Mandy is survived by her parents, Dave and Denise Ellis; big brother, Jake Lathim; little brother, Blaine Ellis; her Aunt Wendy; cousin Shane; her biological father, Allan Lathim; Grandparents, Byron and Dessie Lathim and Ken and Carol Wanke; and many other aunts, uncles, cousins, and of course, countless friends.
There will be a service, Remembering Mandy's Purpose, Sat., July 28th at 2:00 at LifePoint Church, 305 NE 192nd.
Please sign her guest book at: www.columbian.com/obits.
Published in The Columbian on July 25, 2012