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For Mallory Code, a lifetime of accomplishments in 25 years

When it became clear Mallory Code's quarter-century battle with cystic fibrosis was ending, and organ-donor officials had been summoned, her parents were skeptical of what could be salvaged.

For 25 years, the disease and its diabolical side effects had battered Mallory's body, decimating her lungs, her kidneys, just about everything except her resilient spirit.

"We really felt like there was (no vital organ) that was going to be usable," her dad, Brian, said Tuesday morning.

With that, Brian's voice began cracking. "But we got a call today that somebody got her liver."

And so a part of Mallory Code lives on — not just in the recipient, but in nearly every person who crossed the path of her faith-driven life.

Mallory, who defied her overwhelming physical odds, which included diabetes and asthma, to become a state champion golfer at Chamberlain High and earn a scholarship to the University of Florida, died Monday evening at St. Joseph's Hospital.

She had turned 25 in August.

Brian Code said Mallory was admitted over the weekend with a blood infection and pneumonia. Severe swelling of the brain ensued; she died Monday at about 6:30 p.m.

"When she was born, her life expectancy for a cystic fibrosis child was 16-18," Brian said. "So when you look at what she accomplished by age 17 or 18, it's pretty mind-boggling."

Despite her condition, which nearly took her life in a Denver hospital bed in 2005, Mallory flourished in essentially everything she attempted and went on to tell her story to HBO's Real Sports and the Today Show.

Practically reared on Avila's golf course, she won four American Junior Golf Association titles between 2000 and 2002, played for the 2002 U.S. Junior Ryder Cup and Solheim Cup team and, with big sister Whitney, helped Chamberlain win state team titles in 1999 and 2000.

"She had the best short game I've ever seen in my life," former Chamberlain teammate and longtime friend Brooke Layton said. "And the best attitude."

"She was such a great girl as far as always on an up note and she was always smiling in every match," former Chamberlain girls coach Frank George said. "She always went over and made the person on the opposite team feel good."

The youngest of Brian and Karen Code's three children, Mallory could play Beethoven's Symphony No. 5 on the piano, scored 1,340 on the SAT and was proficient in ballet and tap.

She graduated from UF in August with an English degree and was living in her own apartment in the Carrollwood area. In her frequent addresses to groups, she often did so without notes.

Amid her achievements, she took dozens of pills a day, routinely wore a mechanical vest that beat her back and sides to loosen mucus from her lungs, and had more than 10 sinus surgeries. To lessen the risk of infections, she was home-schooled.

"If you didn't know (her condition) you'd never know she was sick watching her or looking at her," Layton said.

Mallory's death caught her friends and loved ones off-guard. Layton said she "looked great" on her Facebook photos and had just seen her mom and sister Friday.

Brian, who had hoped to watch the Florida-Vanderbilt football game Saturday with Mallory, acknowledged, "We thought she had a lot left in the tank." She recently was hospitalized in Orlando for a lung infection but according to her brother, Jordan, was discharged the afternoon of Oct. 29, enough time to race to Hyde Park to attend her niece's first birthday party.

She arrived with an IV still connected to a port in her chest.

"The last few years I think she definitely turned a corner and was doing better," Jordan Code said. "I think definitely having her niece (Finley) and nephew (Javen) really helped her out."

A visitation is set for 6-9 p.m. Thursday at Idlewild Baptist Church in north Tampa. The funeral is 11 a.m. Friday at Idlewild.

For Mallory Code, a lifetime of accomplishments in 25 years 11/10/09 [Last modified: Tuesday, November 10, 2009 9:28pm]
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