LAYTON -- Exactly one year ago, Madeline "Madey" Margene Slaughter, of Layton, was diagnosed with a rare form of bone cancer.
After a yearlong battle, Madey died Tuesday. Services for the 15-year-old girl the community rallied around will be today and Saturday.
But it was the way Madey lived during her yearlong fight and the challenges she encountered -- making frequent trips to the hospital for chemotherapy treatments, some that went well, others that did not -- that Madey's father, George Slaughter, shared in an interview with the Standard-Examiner on Thursday.
"(Madey) won the battle. She just won it in a different way," said Slaughter, his voice choking with emotion.
The past year has been difficult, said Slaughter, describing the experience of having a child trying to stave off cancer as "a parent's worst nightmare."
There were multiple trips to the hospital, he said, and always concern over the germs and infections that went with the treatments Madey received.
And Madey, Slaughter said, handled it like she handled most things. There were days when she was frustrated by her cancer and didn't want to do the treatments, opting instead for her other interests, such as basketball and music. But then there were those days that she would just do it, Slaughter said.
"We found a lot of strength in being family and being together," he said.
Madey is the third of four children, with two older sisters and a younger brother.
The family has also leaned on their faith as members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, its gospel, and the atonement of Jesus Christ, said Slaughter, a former LDS bishop.
"It is the faith in a Savior that helps us and keeps us going right now," he said.
The family has also been strengthened by the faith and love of the community.
"It is an interesting position to be in, to be carried by the prayers of other people," Slaughter said.
For everything that has been done for them by friends, church members and the community, Slaughter said the only thing his family can do is say thank you.
"They made this much more bearable. We have learned a lot about service," Slaughter said of the Layton community that acted to provide assistance to the family, rather than waiting for instruction.
"We love the community we live in and the people we are surrounded by," he said.
It's a feeling that appears to be mutual.
Fundraising events to help with Madey's medical expenses were held throughout the Layton/Kaysville community in 2010, including a "Miles for Madey" 5K run/walk in April. More than 400 people participated in the race that raised $26,000 for Madey's care.
"It was just an honor to be associated with (Madey). We could never give back what we received from her," said former Fairfield Junior High School Principal Steve Davis, now principal at Syracuse High School.
"(Madey) was the most optimistic, positive, friendly student I have ever been exposed to," Davis said, adding that Madey was a student who served others throughout her challenge, inspiring those around her. "The school was a lot better place because she was there."
Candece Hadley, a close family friend who shares an LDS ward, neighborhood and vacation time with the Slaughters, said Madey was outgoing and friendly.
"She always had a smile on her face, and she always invited people into her life," Hadley said.
Madey was also a competitive athlete and captain of the basketball team, Hadley said. But she was most proud of the sportsmanship Madey exemplified to teammates and peers on and off the field of play.
Madey also had a great relationship with her siblings, Hadley said. "They were very, very close."
But the relationship Madey had with her family comes as no surprise.
"(The Slaughters) are probably the epitome of what a family should be," Hadley said. "They are as close to perfection as you can get."
And throughout Madey's trial, Hadley said, the family has been an example of strength and courage to others.
"You need to love your children every single day and never give up hope," Slaughter said, revealing what he would share with other families experiencing similar trials.
"Hug your children and hold them close. Kids don't need a lot, they just need to be loved," Slaughter said.
The funeral for Madey is at 11 a.m. Saturday in the Layton Fairfield Chapel, 380 S. Fairfield.
Friends may visit the family from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. today at Layton's Lindquist Mortuary, 1867 N. Fairfield Road, and from 9:30 a.m. to 10:45 a.m. Saturday at the church. Interment will be at Lindquist's Memorial Park in Layton.