Lacey Holsworth Dies: Friendship With Adreian Payne Will Last Forever [Photos]

Lacey Holsworth, 8, died on Wednesday night after a long, difficult battle with cancer. Over one thousand children will die of cancer in the U.S. this year, so why does the Lacey Holsworth story matter. Because Lacey Holsworth and Adreian Payne taught the nation about the true meaning of friendship.

Amidst the hundreds of story lines that arise from March Madness, there is always one that captures the hearts of both basketball fans and fans of the human race. This year, the NCAA tournament held us captive with Wichita State, Dayton University, Shabazz Napier, and a guy who got a premature Kentucky tattoo. But none of those stories mattered in the way that the friendship between Michigan State star Adreian Payne and Lacey Holsworth mattered.

RIP Princess Lacey, MSU’s little angel forever in our hearts

— Katelyn Gitzen (@KatelynjGitzen) April 9, 2014

“Princess” Lacey Holsworth and her parents discovered she had neuroblastoma in 2011, when she was just five years old. At the time, Lacey was just the average young girl. She loved to dance, laugh, and play. But suddenly, her world was turned upside down. A schedule that was once full of dancing, dressing up, tea parties, and running free, now included countless doctor visits and cancer treatments. It was a very difficult time for her family.

But in 2012, the Michigan State basketball team took a trip to the same hospital where Lacey Holsworth was receiving her treatments. And in the most fortunate turn of events for princess Lacey and Adreian Payne, the two would meet. It was there, in the hospital that day, that an immortal friendship would be struck. In fact, as Adreian Payne has battled through some adversity over the last two season, he credits Lacey Holsworth with teaching him the true meaning of fight.

Over the last two years, there have been highs and lows. At one point, it seemed as if Lacey had defeated cancer and would be able to live a long, full life. But last Fall, doctors discovered a football sized tumor wrapped around her spine. Since then, she has continued to fight with her “big brother” right by her side. As the Michigan State Spartans made their run through the Big Ten tournament and the NCAA tournament, Lacey could be seen court side the whole way. Even after Michigan State lost to the eventual champions, UConn, Lacey and Adreian shined brighter than anyone else.

Friendship is something that everyone in this world is looking for. Someone who will hug you after a loss. Someone who will be there when times are tough. Someone who can make you laugh. Someone you can call big brother or little sister. Eight year old Lacey Holsworth and basketball star Adreian Payne found something that many people never discover. They found a friend. Thank you for the legacy and the example Lacey.