Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year-old girl with cancer, has become an unofficial cheerleader for Michigan State basketball player, Adreian Payne. Lacey suffers from neuroblastoma, a cancer that develops in immature nerve cells throughout the body.
Payne and his teammates visited kids in the hospital Lacey was staying in where Adreian and Lacey developed an unlikely friendship. Adreian stayed back that day to hang out with Lacey; they built a strong bond that has lasted since. “They’re kind of like friends, brother or sister…They’re very comfortable around each other and play games and color. They have a bond that is special,” says Matt Holsworth, Lacey’s dad. Lacey has three biological brothers, but when you ask her how many she has, she will tell you four. Lacey’s father said that Adreian has become a part of their family and comes over frequently just to talk or play video games with Lacey’s brothers.
Lacey always shows concern for her big brother after they lose a game. She even baked him brownies after a tough loss. “It’s a blessing for our hearts and to see them encourage each other. I think they both feed off each other and give each other advice; they both just want to help each other,” said Holsworth. Chemotherapy left Lacey without hair, so she wears a long blonde wig when she goes to the games to cheer Adreian on. Adreian even invited Lacey to come out on the court during their senior ceremony to help cut down the basketball net.
The story of Lacey and Adreian’s friendship has inspired the fans of MSU to show their support for the Holsworth family. An online fundraising website was started in Lacey’s honor to help her family. The website has reached over $30,000 of its $50,000 goal. Lacey is also going to be a part of a new study at the University of Michigan that will use antibodies to try to treat her cancer. Lacey’s cancer is very aggressive, leaving her paralyzed after a tumor wrapped around her spine.
Despite all of her struggles, seeing Adreian is what keeps Lacey going. “We’re very happy to be a part of Adreian’s life,” says Holsworth.