CARLSBAD, Calif. — There may be no greater pain than experiencing the death of a child. In this Zevely Zone, I went to Carlsbad where the Mitchell Thorp Foundation is finding meaning in the midst of tragedy.
When Mitchell Thorp lost his life, his mom and dad dedicated their lives to keeping his memory alive. "He was a 4.0 student, played sports, baseball was his favorite sport," said his father, Brad Thorp. When Mitchell was 13 years old, the straight A student started experiencing headaches. "It was very hard to walk that journey and we were chasing pain all of that time," said his mother, Beth.
Five years later in 2008, when Mitchell could no longer walk or speak, he died from an undiagnosed illness. "It was devastating because at the autopsy we had to read that report and even the autopsy said undetermined," said Beth.
Because Mitchell had been sick for so long, the Thorps faced staggering debt until the community stepped up. "We had medical bills that were off the charts over $100,000," said Brad. That is until the community held a walk-a-thon to help the family. "Oh, it transformed us, it was huge," said Mitchell's parents who decided then and there to establish the Mitchell Thorp Foundation and pay it forward. "You know we took that grief and said we are not going to let Mitchell's name die in vain," said Brad.
In the past 14 years, they've supported hundreds of desperate families facing life-threatening illnesses. "We've given back over three million to help families," said Beth. Months ago, she published a book titled ANEW Creation which she hopes will give readers spiritual strength. "Transformation, hope and transformation,' said Beth. "When you close that book, your heart is going to be transformed."
The Thorps says when a child gets sick, nearly 75% of parents either get divorced or separated. "It almost happened to us, and we knew that we are stronger together than apart," said Beth. Which is why the Thorp Foundation offers assistance to reduce stress. "To see that smile on a father's face knowing that he doesn't have to worry about the mortgage this month or the rent or where's the food going to come from or keeping the lights on it just brings joy to our hearts," said Brad.
The parents say you never see it coming, and you're never prepared for a journey likes theirs. "Look at that face, he was such a joyful kid," said Beth. "Anything to make people laugh or smile that was him." Although the grief never goes away, the mother and father are slowly healing by helping others. "Let's just say the bleeding has stopped in my heart," said Beth. "There is not a day that goes by when we don't think of Mitchell, we feel him all of the time, he is here right now, I invited him to come."
ANEW Creation is a true story about a family, their love for each other and how the power of one life can cause a ripple effect that goes on and on to touch the lives of so many. The Mitchell Thorp Foundation's mission is to support families whose children suffer from life-threatening illnesses, diseases, and disorders by providing financial, emotional, and resource support to their desperate situations. Proceeds from ANEW Creation will go directly to the Mitchell Thorp Foundation to help support families. The Mitchell Thorp Foundation's "Warrior Spirit 5K Run/Walk" takes place on Saturday, February 4, 2023, at Carlsbad's Poinsettia Park.
For more information about the event and Beth's book click here.
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