By Alex LaGrone
Michigan St. Spartans forward Adreian Payne learned that an 8 year old who wore his #5 jersey to Spartans games was fighting a courageous battle against cancer. Payne is Lacey Holswort's favorite basketball player. The two had met when Payne and his teammates stopped in her room on a tour at Sparrow Hospital in Lansing more than a year ago. Lacey's cancer had been in remission, but further tests and scans confirmed the cancer had returned
On the day she finally met Payne during that hospital visit, the Spartans were leaving her room, Lacey asked Payne to stay. Lacey is a big fan of Adreian Payne and has a special area in her room at home that she call's "The A.P. Wall". The wall has pictures and newspaper articles of Payne. As time progressed they began tweeting back and forth and developed a bond. When Lacey got out of the hospital Payne started leaving Lacey tickets to games.
On November 19th, Lacey had chemotherapy that morning and surgery in the afternoon. She hadn't smiled for days. Payne visited her and her mother whispered to Lacey that Adreian is here to see you. Lacey opened her eyes and saw 6'10'' Adreian standing there with a stuffed zebra he'd brought for her. Lacey smiled and said "Superman you're here!". This is the name she had given Adreian.
"She calls me her Superman, but she is the one who's got the super strength. She's incredible with everything she's gone through. She was paralyzed from a massive tumor around her spine and abdomen. The doctor told her she wouldn't walk again, but she did. She's an incredible fighter." Lacey not only has inspired Payne but his teammates as well as many others.
Payne also had some challenges as a child growing up. When he was 13 years old he lost his mother to an asthma attack. He was raised by his grandmother. When Adreian was in kindergarten he was diagnosed with a cognitive disability that prevented him from learning at the same pace of his classmates. He too did not give up. His grandmother gave him the encouragement he needed. Words of encourgament can go a long way. Encouragement is all some people need.
He worked hard to overcome his learning disability with his desire, self-discipline and determination. He is now a senior at Michigan St. University and will be a high draft pick in the NBA. A lesson to be learned is that no matter what you are going through, never give up no matter how tough the odds are. You'll never know what you can do until you try.