Princess Lacey's life celebrated at Michigan State - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

Princess Lacey's life celebrated at Michigan State

Posted: Updated:
Holsworth was a regular around the Michigan State basketball program. Holsworth was a regular around the Michigan State basketball program.
EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) -- Lacey Holsworth did not stop smiling until cancer took her life.

At an emotional celebration of her legacy, about 2,500 people saw a great grin pushing up Lacey's cute cheeks countless times during a moving 43-minute video that ended the memorial ceremony for her at Michigan State on Thursday night.

The 8-year-old girl, whose battle with nerve-cell cancer inspired the Spartans' basketball program and strangers who followed her story, died April 8 in the arms of her mother and father at their home in nearby St. Johns.

Lacey's family wanted those attending the event at the Breslin Center -- where she cheered on her favorite team -- to wear bright colors.

And many did.

Many also wiped away tears, especially when they heard Heather Holsworth's recorded message about her daughter while pictures of Lacey were shown on video boards.

"I can't wait to see you again, save a dance for me," she said at the end of the message.

The little girl affectionately known as "Princess Lacey" had neuroblastoma. She wore a blond wig because chemotherapy took her hair, but her family let the public see her bald and beautiful during a video montage.

A picture of her blowing a kiss was shown on video boards as Michigan State star Adreian Payne, who befriended Lacey during one of her hospital stays, led the family off the covered court after the 1-hour, 40-minute ceremony.

As people started to file out of the arena, some started to clap, but few followed suit because it was a somber occasion even though it was intended to be joyous.

Back pain while dancing in 2011 led to the discovery of a football-sized tumor that had engulfed Lacey's kidney. After another tumor wrapped around her spine, her father had to carry her into a hospital on Dec. 28, 2011. Lacey lost feeling below her belly button and couldn't walk on her own for several months, a long stretch that included the first of many visits from Payne.

The senior forward did not address the crowd live, but did have a recorded message played as part of a video featuring Lacey and people such as former Spartan great and Hall of Famer Magic Johnson.

"Lacey, we love you," Payne said.

He wasn't alone.

Travis Trice, a junior guard, represented the team on a raised stage.

"Her smile would change your day and have an impact on you," Trice said.

Jeff Perryman found that out when he met her in a hospital.

An agent for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, Perryman heard about Lacey's battle with cancer and reached out to her parents, offering to visit with his dog, Ike.

Perryman recalled giving himself a pep talk before facing what he expected to be a sad girl, only to discover she lit up her hospital room with her smile. He became close enough to the family that he was asked to be the master of ceremonies at her celebration.

"We're here to celebrate an incredibly unique life of this beautiful little girl named Lacey," he said.

Perhaps the most powerful portion of the emotion-filled evening was when Heather Holsworth's voice was heard in her recorded tribute.

"My heart hurts so much I can barely breathe," she said.

Holsworth went on to describe her daughter as "shy, yet outgoing," and a "tomboy with a tutu," that had "a mixture of grace and grit."

"Lacey never feared the future because there was nothing to be afraid of," Holsworth said. "She had hope that never died.

"We will take you in our hearts until we can see you and hold you again."

Her dance teacher, Heather Reed, later danced to a song -- "I Do Believe in Fairies" -- that Lacey was scheduled to perform to at a recital. Michigan State student Alex Everard read some of the poems he wrote for and shared with Lacey during the last week of her life. Payne did a "moment of silence dunk" surrounded by teammates.

"She had such an impact on everybody as you can see based on the turnout," Trice said. "She had a way of bringing everybody together."

  • Local NewsLocal NewsMore>>

  • City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    City of Detroit posts improvement updates online

    Thursday, July 31 2014 7:18 AM EDT2014-07-31 11:18:29 GMT
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
    Residents will be able to view the number of new streetlights installed in their Detroit neighborhood, how many lots were mown and the number of vacant houses demolished by going to the city's website.
  • Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Community comes together to support slain Armada teen's family

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:55 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:55:10 GMT
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
    Nearly a week after 14-year-old April Millsap was found murdered in the small town of Armada, friends, family and even those who didn't know the young girl gather for music in the park - this time hoping for justice.They were there to help raise money to ease the burden on April's heartbroken mother."We're as well as can be expected," said aunt Sarah Lichtenfelt. "They are just grateful for all the prayers and support, that's all we ask is to keep praying for strength."In the middle of it all...
  • Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Family asks for justice after mother of three found dead next to dumpster

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 11:33 PM EDT2014-07-31 03:33:46 GMT
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
    When 32-year-old Katherine Gibson was a little girl, her loved ones thought, the "life" ahead of her would be long. But it wasn't."Me and my girlfriend dropped her off and she had just told us, she loved us," said Marvin Gibson, her cousin.That would be the last "I love you" that he would hear. because after Gibson's cousin dropped her off at Harper and Conner, near Bronco's Market. The day after, she was found dead. Gibson's lifeless body, discovered by a dumpster, beside the building."Layin...
  • Download the FOX 2 Apps


  • FOX 2 News Five-Day Forecast
  • What's HotMore>>

  • Unsecured axe flies off truck and into windshield of car

    Unsecured axe flies off truck and into windshield of car

    An "ax-cident" on Route 95 in Topsfield left the passenger of one car shaken up but uninjured after an ax dislodged from a dump truck, striking the windshield of the car behind it.
    An "ax-cident" on Route 95 in Topsfield left the passenger of one car shaken up but uninjured after an ax dislodged from a dump truck, striking the windshield of the car behind it.
  • How honest are we, Detroit?

    How honest are we, Detroit?

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 7:45 PM EDT2014-07-30 23:45:12 GMT
    A national social experiment took place in Detroit Wednesday and the results will show just how honest we really are.
    A national social experiment took place in Detroit Wednesday and the results will show just how honest we really are.
  • VIDEO: 5-Year Old Girl Does Not Want Her Brother To Grow Up

    VIDEO: 5-Year Old Girl Does Not Want Her Brother To Grow Up

    Wednesday, July 30 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-07-30 18:52:16 GMT
    In a video getting a lot of attention this morning on YouTube, a 5-year old girl named Sadie has learned that her little brother will one day grow up and she's not too happy about it!
    In a video getting a lot of attention this morning on YouTube, a 5-year old girl named Sadie has learned that her little brother will one day grow up and she's not too happy about it!
Powered by WorldNow

WHBQ-TV | Fox 13
485 S. Highland St.
Memphis, TN 38111

Main Station: (901) 320-1313
Newsroom: (901) 320-1340

Didn't find what you were looking for?
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 Fox Television Stations, Inc. and Worldnow. All Rights Reserved.
Privacy Policy | Terms of Service | Ad Choices