As highly praised as Tim Tebow has been, not even he has been forced to summon the courage, determination, and love of life that Mallory Code showed in her brief life. We didn't hear of her passing until today, and we are very sorry to hear of it. RIP Mallory. It was a joy and a pleasure to see you play as a Gator. We are even more thankful for your example.
TAMPA - Although she had a lifelong battle with cystic fibrosis, Tampa's Mallory Code became a celebrated golf star who won a state championship at Chamberlain High School and earned a scholarship to the University of Florida.
She poked fun at herself and was constantly smiling. She always thought first about others, even checking herself out of the hospital last month and hurriedly driving over from Orlando so she could attend the long-planned birthday party of her beloved 1-year-old niece.
She was a highly sought inspirational speaker who delivered her message before thousands of people – without using notes.
"She was an inspiration and she was a trooper,'' said Code's father, Brian.
Code died Monday night after being admitted to St. Joseph's Hospital over the weekend with a blood infection and pneumonia. Her condition worsened and she contracted severe swelling of the brain. She passed away at approximately 6:30 p.m.
Code was 25.
Her obvious passion was golf. She and sister Whitney helped Chamberlain win state team titles in 1999 and 2000. She won four American Junior Golf Association titles between 2000 and 2002. She also played for the 2002 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup teams.
Code also played the piano (Beethoven's Fifth Symphony was a favorite. She danced (ballet and tap). She was an avid follower of UF football and graduated from [UF] last August with an English degree.
Of late, as she settled into her own apartment in the Carrollwood area, Code had launched a Web site ("The Deal Bloodhound'') that helped families save money on groceries through links to coupons.
"She wasn't going to stop achieving something,'' Brian Code said. "And the thing was, it was always about helping somebody else.''
HBO's "Real Sports'' once featured Code's story. She appeared on the "Today'' show.
"My life is perfect in almost every way,'' Code said in 2001. "I've got this awesome family, awesome friends and an awesome relationship with the Lord Jesus. I've got golf, dance, everything. I don't want to be the little sick girl out there.''
Code's father said he's still amazed at the number of people his daughter touched and influenced. When Code was diagnosed at six weeks with CF, a chronic lung disease, her life expectancy was 16 to 18 years.
"She accomplished so much in life, but in the earthly manner, we will miss her so much,'' Code said. "But we know where she is now and we know how much good she did during her life. For that, we are so grateful.''
Code is survived by her parents, Brian and Karen; her sister, Whitney; and brother, Jordan.
A visitation is scheduled for Thursday from 6-9 p.m., at Idlewild Baptist Church in north Tampa. The funeral will be held at Idlewild on Friday at 11 a.m.