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Hoffner family guided by Mara’s Light

Published: Aug. 3, 2021 at 8:54 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) -Mara Hoffner tragically passed away earlier this year. Tuesday would be the Mankato East diving star’s 14th birthday.

Mara’s light continues to shine, and the Hoffner family is determined to change the conversation around mental health.

MSU head football coach Todd Hoffner along with Melodee, Kiaya and Brady are honoring Mara by supporting programs near and dear to her heart.

“She was on the varsity diving team and scoring points, helping the team win and do things they hadn’t done before,” said Todd Hoffner.

The Hoffner family is donating one thousand dollars to the East diving program and another thousand to K & G Gymnastics.

“It was pretty special to us as parents. Mara had great relationships, great friendships with those groups. She had a lot of connections with those groups. They meant a lot to her, meant a lot to us, and we’re trying to help those groups moving forward,” said Hoffner.

The Hoffners are also sending one thousand dollars to Prairie Winds Middle School to put the spotlight on education about mental health issues.

“There’s more and more publicity, and people that are unfortunately involved in mental health issues. Whether someone goes to the extreme and potentially takes an attempt at their life and self-harm, it’s unfortunate, but trying to listen, love people, encourage others and get people help if they need help. There is a suicide lifeline. There are lots of different services out there, counseling. Lot’s of different ways to help people. Just taking things seriously and trying to get people help with the professionals who know what they’re doing is probably the biggest thing,” said Hoffner.

The whole purpose of the donations is to build on what Mara started by being there for others. She left behind a legacy of kindness, compassion, acceptance and fearlessness.

“Mara’s Light guided us to do this to try and help others. She was always a very caring, loving, sharing person. We’re just trying to pay it forward,” said Hoffner.

The Hoffner family plans on giving to these organizations on an annual basis to take a step in preventing this sort of heartbreak from happening in the future.

“Anytime a young human’s life is cut short, especially a child, it’s one of the most heart-wrenching human things any person can go through as a parent. Most parents would trade places with their child at any point in time and would rather be them than their child. Having to put your daughter’s body to rest is just a difficult thing,” said Hoffner.

If you or someone you love needs help, call the suicide prevention line at 1-800-273-8255.

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