From noted on-air commentator and sports journalist Kate Fagan, the heartbreaking and vital story of college athlete Maddy Holleran, whose death by suicide rocked the University of Pennsylvania campus and whose life reveals with haunting detail and uncommon understanding the struggle of young people suffering from mental illness today.
If you scrolled through the Instagram feed of 19 year old Maddy Holleran, you would see a perfect life: a freshman at an Ivy League school, recruited for the track team, who was also beautiful, popular, and fiercely intelligent. This was a girl who succeeded at everything she tried, and who was only getting started. But when Maddy began her long-awaited college career, her parents noticed something changed. Previuosly indefatigable Maddy became withdrawn, and her thoughts centered on how she could change her life, including possibly transferring from the school that had once been her dream, and into which she had poured thousands of hours of practice and study. When Maddy's dad, Jim, dropped her off for the first day of spring semester, she held him a second longer than usual. That would be the last time Jim would see his daughter.
WHAT MADE MADDY RUN began as a piece that Kate Fagan, a columnist for espnW, wrote about Maddy and her experience. What started as a profile of a successful young athlete whose life ended in suicide became so much larger when Fagan started to hear from other college athletes also grappling with mental illness. This is the story of Maddy Holleran and her struggle with depression, which also reveals the mounting pressure young people, and college athletes in particular, face to be perfect, especially in an age of relentless connectivity and social media saturation.