#SpartansWill

Many people know that Lacey Holsworth, PrincessLacey, died on Tuesday. She was 8 years old. She had relapsed neuroblastoma, cancer of the sympathetic nervous system. The outpouring of love and support for her and her family has been inspiring. Awesome. Humbling. And prolific. It is obvious that people around the world have been moved and inspired by this brave young woman and her fight against the #childhoodcancer beast. As a member of both the childhood cancer and Michigan State University communities, I am proud and grateful. I am grateful to the MSU students, student athletes, faculty, staff, and alumni who have rallied our community to share Lacey’s story and carry on her legacy. I am grateful that childhood cancer is getting national attention- as it should- and as every child diagnosed with cancer should. Lacey’s diagnosis, battle, and death are tragic. This should not happen. Cancer should not happen to anyone but certainly not to innocent children who have done nothing other than be kids. There is so much that is wrong about an 8 year old dying from cancer.

I am grateful that so many people have been moved to make visible expressions of their sadness and grief over Lacey’s death. This is an amazing and important first step. Awareness is key. I am hopeful that people will now take the second, third, and fourth steps and make something happen. Let us not sit back and keep watching. Let’s do something.

Sean is the one who told me about Lacey’s death. Later that day he told me that he wrote to a high-ranking MSU official, volunteering to help organize something, something big that would make a difference. What Sean and I have learned through our own childhood cancer journey is that words and vigils are not enough. Our kids need action. They need awareness. They need people outside the community to care, and get it, and be involved. They need money for research so fewer of them are diagnosed, they get better, less toxic treatments, and can go on to live healthy lives as survivors.

Turns out my husband is an awesome writer, too. This is the email that he sent:

“I was moved and proud of my alma mater last night with the students’ and staff response to the loss of Lacey Holsworth. My family has been impacted by pediatric cancer as well, with my 8 year old son, Luke. He is a cancer survivor and four years off treatment. My family is one of the lucky ones. What we need though, is the Spartan community to do something. Being moved and proud for a night is not enough. These kids need help. And by help, I mean money for research. We have been very involved with St. Baldrick’s since Luke’s diagnosis. I would love to talk to you or anyone else about creating a fundraising event that helps and honors kids like Lacey, my son, Paige Duren and Arthur Ray and countless other kids in the MSU community beat this horrible disease and live full lives after treatment. I think this is what Spartans Will really means. We WILL do something.”

Sincerely, Sean Fochtman ’98 and 2000 MSU graduate

We are in conversations with some people here at MSU and hope that we can all organize something (don’t know what, yet) that will honor Lacey and her fight, and the 1000s of kids like her who are diagnosed each day. Some of them, clearly, are right here in our MSU community. There will be others. What we can all do is rally together and work hard to make a difference. #SpartansWill, right?

We welcome anyone out there who wants to join us. Thank you for reading and for supporting kids with cancer.

Go Green!

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