On Thursday evening Michigan State basketball player Adreian Payne scored 41 points in the Spartans' 93-78 second-round victory over the Delaware Blue Hens and set an NCAA Tournament record for most free throws without a miss in a game, going 17 for 17 from the line.
On the court Payne is a star, but off the court he always makes time for one special friend.
Lacey Holsworth, an 8-year old from St. Johns, Michigan, has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma, an aggressive form of childhood cancer. Two years ago, she met Payne when he visited her at the hospital, and the two have been close ever since.
"I like his smile and he's a really nice friend," Lacey told WILX.
Lacey and her favorite player spend time coloring and reading together, and always cheer each other on. Payne brings joy into the life of a girl that needs distractions from daily radiation treatments.
"To see her get outside of that world and back into a normal life and to see her smile and see that joy on her face... it makes every parent happy," Lacey's father Matt Holsworth told WILX.
Thanks to her friendship with Payne, Lacey's family went to the Dick Vitale Gala last May to help benefit cancer research for children. Vitale spent some time with Lacey and her parents before Payne's final game in the Breslin Center on March 6.
"It's great to see a love affair in a situation like that where there's such love, respect and admiration," Vitale told WILX. "She is one courageous young lady, her courage is unbelievable."
How to help:
If you would like to make a donation you can send it to:
PO Box 101
St. John's, MI 48879
Or email firstname.lastname@example.org and a PayPal link will be sent.