EAST LANSING, Mich. - An 8-year-old Michigan State basketball fan whose battle with cancer inspired the team's players, coaches and many more beyond the hardwood was honored by thousands of her closest friends at a memorial service in East Lansing.
Lacey Holsworth's family wanted those attending the event Thursday night at the Breslin Center basketball arena to wear bright colors and smiles in celebration of her life.
And, many did.
Many also wiped away tears, especially when they heard Heather Holsworth's recorded message about her daughter while her pictures were shown on video boards.
"I can't wait to see you again, save a dance for me," she said at the end of a composed, recorded message.
Lacey died at her home in nearby St. Johns on April 8. The little girl affectionately known as "Princess Lacey" had neuroblastoma, a nerve-cell cancer. She wore a blond wig because chemotherapy took her hair.
Lacey met Michigan State basketball star Adreian Payne during one of her hospital stays, and their friendship quickly blossomed. She became a valued member of the Spartan family.
Payne, perhaps because he thought he would be too emotional to speak, was not scheduled to address the crowd at the celebration.
Travis Trice, a junior guard, represented the team on a raised stage in front of nearly 1,000 chairs - most of them filled - on the covered court and perhaps 2,000 more people seated in the lower section of the arena.
"Her smile would change your day and have an impact on you," Trice said.