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Community Rallies Around Alabama Mother After 13-Year-Old Daughter Dies During Game of Tug-of-War


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A grieving mother is speaking out after her young daughter died suddenly at her Alabama school this week while playing tug-of-war.

Leslie Wentworth told Fox News Saturday that she was at work Thursday when the school called and said her 13-year-old daughter may have suffered a seizure.

Sixth-grader Maddison Wentworth collapsed while playing with other students during an end-of-the-year Field Day event at Williams Intermediate School in Pell City, authorities told Fox.

Image source: GoFundMe

Image source: GoFundMe

“I’m pulling my strength from God,” Laslie Wentworth said Saturday. “The love I’ve received from the community has just been overwhelming.”

Wentworth described Maddison as full of life. She also said she’d “never met a stranger.”

Maddison’s death was a complete shock. Wentworth said her daughter had no known health problems that she knew of.

After the 13-year-old collapsed, school nurses performed CPR until paramedics arrived. Maddison was taken to a local hospital where she was pronounced dead at at 12:34 p.m., Pell City Police Sgt. Don Newton told AL.com.

According to a GoFundMe account created by a family friend to “help with the financial side of this horrific time,” the cause of Maddison’s death is still unknown. An autopsy was scheduled to determine how the young girl died, AL.com reported.

“We have suffered a great loss at Williams Intermediate School. Field day is supposed to be one of the best days of the year,” Pell City Schools Superintendent Michael Barber said in a statement. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, and with the faculty and students who knew her and loved her every day. And I would ask everyone to keep this family and the system in their prayers as well.”

Classmates wrote notes to Maddison during school Friday and put them in her locker, WBRC-TV reported. The notes will eventually be given to her mother, according to the station.

The school also plans to hold a “celebration of life” event in honor of Maddison on the last day of school next week.

As of Saturday, more than $10,700 had been raised to help Maddison’s family.

“Words can not express how much each and every one of you are appreciated,” an update posted to the site at around 2:15 p.m. Saturday read. “Thank you all so much for your kind words and donations. All of this love and support is truly amazing, God bless you all!”

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