Washington State offensive lineman Riley Sorenson and his family are coping with another tragic, unfathomable loss today as his mother, Karen, has passed away after being diagnosed with late-stage cancer six months ago.
Sorenson, a senior who has started 21 games during his Cougars career, was recently honored with the Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award for the 2015-16 season, which cited "the strength of character to his team that he displayed [last season] while he and his family faced extreme personal challenges."
Sorenson's mother fell ill in November, prompting the center to miss the Colorado game to be at her bedside. Sorenson, whose mother rebounded following the diagnosis, would return to the team shortly after, however the unthinkable happened just two months later.
As Riley's father, Bart, was on his way to watch the Hyundai Sun Bowl against Miami, he suffered a massive heart attack that left him in a coma. Bart Sorenson would pass away days later.
"Obviously this past fall was a very emotionally tough time for me in my personal life, but all of the support that I received from everyone involved made it possible for me to go about my life as my family would want me to," Sorenson said after receiving the Pac-12 Sportsmanship Award this month.
Mike Leach added: "Riley has faced unimaginable adversity this past year, handled it with great courage, and remained focused on being a student-athlete. To have others recognize what Riley has fought through and for him to remain a leader on this team is a testament to his character and selflessness."
Riley and his family, now more than ever, need our help again. The Washington State Athletic Department has set up a GoFundMe account to raise funds for the Sorenson family's funeral, medical, and other related expenses. If you would like to help out, you can do so here.
On behalf of the entire CougCenter staff, we send our deepest condolences to Riley and his family during this trying time.
Note: As noted within the page, all donations submitted through the GoFundMe account are NCAA compliant. Funds raised in excess of the support needed for funeral, medical, and related expenses will be donated to a charitable cause, per NCAA bylaws.