Sycamore community mourns death of 6th grader to illness

District 427 encourages community to wear purple Thursday in honor of Maggie Green, 11, of Sycamore

A sign reads "#MaggieStrong" outside the Sycamore City Center, 308 W. State St. downtown in honor of Sycamore sixth grader Maggie Green, 11, who died Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, from cancer. Purple lights have been displayed across town for weeks to support Maggie and her family. Purple was Maggie's favorite color.

SYCAMORE – The Sycamore community is mourning the loss of one of its own, a sixth grader who died Wednesday after a battle with cancer, Sycamore School District 427 officials said.

The school district announced Maggie Green, 11, a sixth grader at Sycamore Middle School, died after she “bravely fought a rare sarcoma for the past year,” according to a social media post published on the district’s Facebook page Wednesday evening.

“During Maggie’s journey, it was incredibly heartwarming to witness the outpouring of love and support from the community. It has been incredible to see all of the purple lights throughout Sycamore in Maggie’s honor,” according to the post.

In the weeks leading up to Green’s death, the Sycamore community had shown their love and support in a creative way: Purple lights could be seen around town, adorned outside the city center, Sycamore police and fire departments, area businesses and homes.

Purple lights gleam outside Sycamore Middle School, 150 Maplewood Drive, in honor of Sycamore sixth grader Maggie Green, 11, who died Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, from cancer. Purple lights have been displayed across town for weeks to support Maggie and her family. Purple was Maggie's favorite color.

Purple was Green’s favorite color, said Steve Wilder, Sycamore District 427 superintendent. The district also encouraged everyone to wear purple Thursday in Maggie’s honor.

“She fought such a courageous battle, it really just was inspiring the way the community rallied around her family,” Wilder said. “To drive around town and really even outside of Sycamore I saw a couple purple lights. You drove around and you saw homes, businesses, all around town [with purple lights]. ... It’s really sad to hear of her loss.”

Green also went to North Elementary and North Grove Elementary, according to the district.

Social media tributes began popping up online Wednesday evening as word of Green’s death spread.

Green died early Wednesday, according to her obituary, which remembered the young girl who had “a great attitude and positive outlook on life (as long as it wasn’t before 10am).”

“As Maggie prepared to enter God’s Kingdom, she was constantly surrounded by abundant love, faith, family, and her precious cat, Belle,” loved ones wrote in Green’s obituary.

Purple lights gleam outside Sycamore Middle School, 150 Maplewood Drive, in honor of Sycamore sixth grader Maggie Green, 11, who died Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023, from cancer. Purple lights have been displayed across town for weeks to support Maggie and her family. Purple was Maggie's favorite color.

Green was a frequent volunteer at Tails Humane Society, according to her obituary, which also remembered her as sassy, with “the kindest heart.” She dreamt of becoming a pediatric oncology nurse because she wanted to provide care and encouragement for other children fighting cancer, according to her obituary.

“While she was a homebody at heart, she also enjoyed spending time with friends and family, going to school, playing softball, traveling with her family, and competing with her dad and sister at Mario-Kart,” according to her obituary. “Her favorite color was purple, and Maggie and her family were deeply moved at the show of support with purple lights displayed by her family, friends, the wonderful community of Sycamore, and many others beyond.”

In a message sent to District 427 families Wednesday, Wilder said counselors and other support will be available for Sycamore students, staff and anyone else who might need it in the wake of Green’s death.

“Maggie’s fight really inspired not just the students but the staff as well,” Wilder said. “So counselors and social workers will be available.”

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