In the final days of her life, Caitlin Sollie Powell wanted to make something clear – she would never give up fighting cancer and if she died, it was not because she lost her battle.
The Collinsville mother died early Thursday morning, two days after her 31st birthday, according to her family.
Mrs. Powell, who worked as a registered nurse and was the daughter of longtime Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie and Diann Sollie, was diagnosed with breast cancer last October.
“She enjoyed a lifetime of singing, dancing and teaching yoga,” her obituary reads. “Caitlin loved her husband, son and parents and was always concerned about their well-being.”
Mrs. Powell and her husband, Trenton Pate Powell, have a 2-year-old son, Laine Beaux.
Sollie said his daughter entered nursing to be a caregiver.
“She never stopped giving," Sollie said. "Her goal was to makes sure that everybody was happy, taken care of."
In the wake of her diagnosis, Mrs. Powell’s family and the community rallied around her.
The sheriff shaved his head with his daughter last year, in preparation for her chemotherapy treatments.
The Police Benevolent Foundation and the Mississippi Division of the Southern States Police Benevolent Association established an account for donations to benefit the family.
At the Caitlin Sollie Powell Benefit Shoot in September, the sheriff put himself through a rigorous tactical course at the Meridian Public Safety Training Center called “Caitlin’s Battle” – a way to show support for his daughter.
In October, Kim Robbins helped organize a benefit at Chunky River Harley-Davidson, selling t-shirts and food.
Robbins, a breast cancer survivor, said she felt a connection to Mrs. Powell and wanted to help.
“Caitlin was precious and she’s touched a lot of lives,” Robbins said Thursday.
Officials from across the area, including Jonathan Wells, president of the Lauderdale County Board of Supervisors, offered their condolences.
“On behalf of the board, our hearts ache for the Sollie family," Wells said. "They’re in our thoughts and prayers."
“We’re a family so we’re grieving along with them,” said Ward Calhoun, chief deputy of the Lauderdale County Sheriff's Department.
“What a beautiful life ended way too soon,” said Meridian Mayor Percy Bland. “We are praying for peace and understanding during this difficult time. Sheriff Sollie has dedicated a life of service to this area and we are all mourning for he and his family today.”
The Clarke County Sheriff’s Office also shared a message of support on Facebook:
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Lauderdale County Sheriff Billy Sollie on the passing of his daughter. We ask that you join us in prayer for his family in the days ahead.”
“There’s only two words – thank you,” Billy Sollie said. “This community, the outpouring of love and kindness and gifts, the compassion shown by so many to us, the entire Sollie-Powell family.”
Memorial services for Mrs. Powell are planned for 2 p.m. Saturday at Robert Barham Family Funeral Home Chapel.
The family request any desired memorials be made to: METAvivor, Inc; 1783 Forest Drive #184, Annapolis, MD 21401 or flowers.