Molly Lahlum died early Thursday morning after collapsing during a swim meet April 7th. After more than a week on a ventilator, the Douglas High Student looked to be making improvements. She seemed responsive and no longer needed the machine. In an unexpected turn, she slipped away early Thursday morning around 3:00 AM. On the family's web page her father wrote, "She went very peacefully, and it was not traumatic for her at all." Her mother was by her side.
Those who knew Molly and her family are still struggling to understand. Friday, students at Douglas High School wore ribbons in with her name on them. At the Carson Swim Center across the street where she spent so much time practicing and competing, a sign reading “A smile to remember Molly” greets visitors. Her friends say it's an appropriate gesture because now, even in her absence, she's continuing to cheer others. "Molly was just bubbly" says friend Sierra Bertolone-Smith. Teammate Chandra Matheson adds, “Molly was on of those girls who would walk into a room and every person would light up.”
Officials with the Douglas County School District say extra counselors and substitute teachers have been brought in to help students deal with the loss of their classmate. Support has also been brought in down the street at Gardnerville Elementary School, where Molly's mother Mary Lahlum works as a school nurse.
So far, the cause of Molly’s illness and subsequent death has not been determined. But her mother is optimistic that medical examiners will be able to figure out what happened. She also hopes that discovery will be something other families can learn from so that Molly's death will not have been in vain.