Michelle Farnsworth was an inspiration to so many. For those of you who don't know, she grew up in Leominster, MA. She is the youngest of three. She has an older sister, Alyssa and an older brother Devin. Her parents are Brenda and John Farnsworth. She played multiple sports growing up starting with gymnastics, she then developed a love for swimming and field hockey. She was a talented athlete. She always looked up to her siblings who were also swimmers. When she was 11 years old, she had the opportunity of a lifetime to move to Ireland with her family. Unlike her brother and sister, she was jumping for joy when she was told the news. She always had such a positive outlook on life. She was able to travel the world, discover her love for margharita pizza and nutella crepes. She met so many amazing people while she was living in Ireland. She moved back with her family during 7th grade. She was school choiced to Nashoba School District and it was the best thing that could've happened to her.
From Florence Sawyer to Nashoba High School, she was welcomed with open arms. She joined the Nashoba HS field hockey team and would've loved to join the Nashoba High School swim team if life hadn't taken such an unexpected turn. In March of 2014, Michelle was faced with tragic news that no freshman in high school should ever have to hear. After many tests, she was diagnosed with stage IV Rhabdomyosarcoma (RMS). A rare muscle tissue cancer that is of course one of the more aggressive cancers. We started chemo right away. Months later the tumor had shrunk 70%. We had so much hope and faith that she would beat this ugly cancer. She started radiation in the fall of 2014 and she kept fighting but her body couldn't keep up with her mental strength. She had the biggest support team behind her: she received loving texts, inspirational posts, and cute gifts to keep her spirits high. She knew she had an army behind her, which kept her going. She fought hard until the end, but by January of 2015 her body couldn't take it anymore. It spread to more places than the original and she passed away in her home on January 13, 2015. A tragic day that will forever be heavy in our hearts.
We wanted to be mad and we had every right to be. We know she is in a better place and has left a mark on this world that no one could remove. She lived a beautiful but short life. She experienced so much in her 15 years. She is an inspiration to all of those that knew her and to even those that didn't but who had heard her story. We wanted to do something to keep the spirit of Michelle alive. What better way than to honor those who exhibit the similar qualities of Michelle.
Most of you know Michelle through some form of athletics. From the young age of 3, she was involved in some sport. She had to keep up with her brother and sister. Her first big sport was gymnastics. Sterling gymnastics was home for 6 years of her life. You could see what she was made of at a young age. Of course, she couldn't do just one activity. There was always something else to try...to name a few softball, ballet, tap and jazz, soccer, basketball, street hockey, swimming, and field hockey. Her claim to fame was swimming. She was a natural and to watch her was like watching an art form in water. She was one of the fastest freestyle swimmers in NE at the age of 13. She holds two records on her Ireland swim team at the age of 12.
She wanted to do more than swim. Swimming involved a team but was primarily an individual sport in the end. Unless you are swimming a relay...it's just you and the blocks. She started playing field hockey in Ireland after watching her sister for years. She was 11. She played defense and ended up falling in love with the sport. She wanted to tryout for the Nashoba HS in 9th grade after taking about a year and a half off. She knew there were so many more talented girls who had played club field hockey for years but she didn't let that stop her. I remember her saying that she didn't think she was good enough but that she'd give it her all. She made the team and was ecstatic. She was able to enjoy the true feelings of a team sport where you work and play together with others to succeed. You win together and lose together. She loved her team.
Her scholarship foundation would like to offer scholarships to students who have swam or played field hockey in high school in the Central Mass area and who show interest continuing in college. We don't know what was in store for Michelle's future but we're sure she would've gone on to play either sport. We also want to support a Nashoba High School student in their future endeavors, no specific requirements other than they embody Michelle's spirit for life.