Celebrating A Life Like No Other

Eternal thanks to everyone who came to the Breslin Center tonight, or as Lacey’s mother appropriately called it, “Princess Lacey’s Palace”. Sharing the poems I wrote for Lacey was the single most meaningful thing I’ve done in my life thus far. Thank you to everyone who showed support before, during, and after the celebration. The Holsworth Family welcomed me with hugs, and I am forever grateful for the opportunity they gave me. Lacey will always have my heart. 

If anyone would like to contact me about my poems, I can be reached at everarda@msu.edu 

I am unsure of the future of this blog, but any further impact I can make in the lives of those battling cancer is something I would deeply enjoy. My life has new meaning, all thanks to Lacey Holsworth. 

Love. 

Thoughts on Lacey’s Vigil @ The Rock

When I heard of the candle-light vigil being held at 9 p.m. for Lacey at The Rock on Wednesday night, I was deeply upset that I was stuck working until 10. I told myself I couldn’t miss it and I contemplated walking off the job if I couldn’t get out early. Fortunately for me, I was able to leave around 9:15.

Backpack full of books, I sprinted down Farm Lane, cutting in front of a Cata bus to cross the street, until I saw a large crowd of Spartans huddled together. Several basketball players stuck out above the crowd (most notably, Lacey’s big brother Adreian). I made my way to the front and noticed Coach Izzo and his wife Lupe standing off to the side. Full of adrenaline and emotion, hands shaking, I debated walking up to Izzo and asking for a favor.

Coach had already addressed the crowd and most were waiting for a marker to write a personal message to our Princess on The Rock. I wanted to share my final poem for Lacey; I knew in my heart that it was the best time to read my words aloud. But I was nervous. After all, Tom Izzo is more than a coach in East Lansing. He’s our Leader.

"I’ll just write my message like everyone else and head home," I thought.

But as soon as that thought entered my mind, I glanced over at Izzo once more and Lacey’s smiling face shot into the front of my brain.

"Be strong, be like me, you can do it,” she told me.

Without any more hesitation, I approached Coach Izzo and asked my favor.

"Coach," I said after a handshake and a hug, "I’m the guy who wrote daily poems for Lacey. I’d like to share one, but your voice is much more commanding than mine."

"Okay, okay," he said. "Well, do you want me to read it? What would you like me do?"

When Tom Izzo asks you a question your heartbeat increases tenfold.

"No, I can read it, but could you get everyone’s attention for me?"

He quickly complied and addressed the crowd.

Immediate silence
.

"Are you going to be loud enough?" he asked with a smile. "Because she’s listening."

Everyone laughed lightly and the mood went from somber to slightly happy.

“I know she is. I can do it,” I said.

I began to read my final poem, “Love Like Lacey”, to the crowd.

For reasons unknown, for reasons I cannot explain, my nerves were instantly calm and my heartbeat slowed. Even as I read the words from my phone, I thought to myself, “Why aren’t you shaking? Everyone is listening. Tom Izzo is right next to you. Tom Izzo is listening to you read a poem.”

But I continued on, speaking aloud the words I so badly wanted Lacey to hear. When I concluded the final line, “For the rest of my life I will love like Lacey,” applause filled the quiet night.

I looked over at Coach and saw him wipe a tear from his eye.

“Man, that was really great,” Izzo told me.

I gave him another hug, and hugged Lupe again once as well, before I wrote my message to the little girl who changed my life. As I turned around to leave the crowd, several students expressed support.

“That took guts,” one man said.

“That was a beautiful poem,” said another.

They both reached for handshakes initially, but I embraced them each with a hug. At a candle-light vigil, handshakes aren’t necessary. Spartans hug.

As I walked home, I called my father to tell him what I just did, partially because I couldn’t believe it myself. I’m not shy in front of crowds, but I’m certainly no Adreian Payne. I’m not accustomed to being in such a situation. The “old me”, as they say, the “me before Lacey”, wouldn’t have had the courage to stand up and speak. I wouldn’t have had the strength to approach Izzo. I would have just wrote my message, looked up at the stars, and walked home.

But therein lies my point and the true power of Lacey’s life. I’m no longer the old me, thanks to Lacey. I’m better in ways I have yet to discover, and Wednesday night was an example. If standing in front of that crowd and reading a poem was for me personally, I never would have done it. Not in a million years. What if I messed up? What if I started to cry? What if I didn’t speak loudly enough?

Thanks to Lacey, those questions were irrelevant. Thanks to Lacey, I realized that moment was all that mattered, and that failure is nothing to fear. Thanks to Lacey, I found something within myself that allowed me to express my feelings to a hundred-or-more strangers and one of the most iconic coaches in all of sports.

Thanks to Lacey, that night at The Rock is the single-most important moment in my time as a Spartan—in my time on this earth. Thanks to Lacey, I made a memory I will never forget, a memory that will fill my mind right next to all the other lessons she taught me. Thanks to Lacey, I am a better man, and as I glanced up at the crowd, I could tell I was not alone.

Thank you, Princess Lacey Holsworth, for changing my life and who I am. You will live on forever in the actions and souls of all those you touched.

Love Like Lacey

This is the last poem I wanted to write

I heard the news about our Princess last night

It hurts so deep— I write through my tears

Lacey, you taught us all to fight through fears

In countless classes, I’ve taken countless tests

But Lacey, you prepared me for life the best

Lacey, you have shown me how to love

And now you’re dancing with stars and angels above

Your adorable face pierces my mind

And I’m sure it will stay there for quite some time

This pain, this sadness, they both hang heavy

To lose our Princess, we simply weren’t ready

We’re selfish Lacey, we wanted you to stay with us

Yet we cherish the lessons that you give us

I use present tense, because you’re still touching lives

And I can say, personally, you’ll forever touch mine

You’ll forever be a part of our Spartan story

Lacey, you have achieved true Spartan glory

You fought like a warrior and loved liked an angel

That is why your passing feels so painful

Of the lessons you taught, I could write a book

You spread kindness and love with a simple look

When I saw you hadn’t seen a couple of posts

I figured times were tough, but I held on to hope

I wrote for the days when things could have been better

And I hope you read my words before you went to dance on forever

These poems are all that I have to give in return

And they feel like nothing for all that I’ve learned

But to know that I was able to brighten your days

Makes me want to smile and cry in so many ways

You won’t be forgotten, but you already know it

Our Princess was truly special, and Spartans will show it

We’ll think of you when we get together

We’ll thank Lacey for beautiful weather

We’ll fight on, as you showed us Spartans should do

We’ll love like Lacey, we’ll love for you

I don’t know how to end this because I don’t want it to end

I don’t want to stop writing for my cute little friend

If I ever have kids, I’ll tell them before bed

Stories of a Princess named Lacey and the things that she said

The way that she smiled, the way that she lived

Then I’ll end each story with a simple kiss

I can’t express to you Lacey, all these things that I feel

I don’t want to believe that this is all real

Yet I know in my heart that your life will go on

Every time someone fighting stands up and stays strong

Every time kindness is shared between friends or strangers

Lacey is doing her work as our Princess Angel

Princess Lacey lives on in the love that she grew

Even though you are gone, I know what to do

All the love you spread, all the times you amazed me

For the rest of my life I will love like Lacey

My Wrist & My Heart

Since I’ve started this blog I’ve been greatly encouraged

I feel at home with my Spartans as support has flourished

Some say I have touched them, much thanks I’ve been given

But it’s Lacey who has changed the way I’ve been living

For support I am grateful, I can’t say it enough

Lacey has shown me what it means to be tough

Lacey has shown me the true value of life

Lacey has given me a reason to write

I cannot believe the impact of this one little girl

Princess Lacey has changed my whole world

Looking back on the tourney, Payne’s performance makes sense

I, too, live for Lacey and we haven’t met yet

I wondered how Adreian was so on, I couldn’t believe it

But all it took was for Lacey to read my poem and tweet it

It was then that I realized it’s deeper than a story

It’s deeper than cancer or basketball glory

Lacey is a person who doesn’t know how to hate

She’s a model American and she’s only eight

This girl, she shines brighter than any trophy could

Knowing I’ve touched her life makes me want to live good

No, I don’t mean “live well”, I mean live as she would

My wrist and my heart are where Lacey lives

Until I can meet her—oh the hugs I will give!

I just want to tell her, to speak all these words

I give Lacey all the credit—it’s what she deserves

She’s given me hope in a life full of stress

She’s shown me there are much bigger things than my tests

Lacey runs through my mind constantly each day

I could write endless poems without finding the words to say

How I feel about Lacey is something I’ve not felt

In my 21 years, she made my heart melt

I’ve been inspired by coaches, I’ve been motivated by teachers

But nothing struck my soul like Lacey in the bleachers

Since then, I’ve tried harder to spread love every day

Simply because I know Lacey would want it that way

I feel her in my heart, I carry her ‘round my wrist

I look up to the sky and I often make the same wish

I want Lacey to win, for her I’d run countless miles

I just want to see my favorite girl smile

I feel like she’s my little sister, I know that may sound crazy

Everything I do is for our Princess Lacey

I’ve had the same goal from the very start

Lacey has my devotion, not just a small part

For her I’ll write poems, for her I’ll make art

For Lacey, I’ll give with my wrist and live with my heart

Rainy Mondays

Out of the whole week, if you had to pick one day

The toughest one of all is a rainy Monday

Mondays are tough and sometimes we get down

Waiting for a new weekend to come around

But if you look at it in a new way, if you see it different

You’ll realize rainy Mondays can be quite terrific

See without Mondays, the weekends aren’t special

And without the rain, flowers won’t grow their petals

Mondays must come if we want a new weekend

It’s just up to us to happily greet them

So next time Monday comes and you want to frown

Remember that Sunday will soon come back around

Not all days can be Fridays, that’s certainly true

And sometimes rainy Mondays can make us feel blue

But Spartans are green, and so is the Spring

And soon enough Summer will be in full swing

Soon enough rain will start to grow flowers

And after all, Monday is still only 24 hours

So make the most of each moment, Monday or not

Make the most of them all—give each day a shot

They won’t all be great, but that’s what makes some perfect

Because after rainy Mondays, sunny Saturdays surface

The clouds will soon part and the rain will soon lift

Showing us all that each day is a gift

And when it’s all said and done, if rainy Mondays drive us crazy

We can always have sunshine with a smile from Lacey

Finding Sparty

On April 6th, Sparty went missing and no one knew where he went

They looked all over campus and started to worry about the next event

How would fans cheer without their Sparty?

Who would make State games feel like parties?

The mystery needed to be solved

So there was one person Izzo called

A girl named Lacey and her team

They’d find Sparty, surely he’d be seen

So Lacey answered Izzo’s call, and searching they all went

Gary, Denzel, AP, Keith, and Dawson, even those coming off the bench

They got together and decided first they’d look by the Red Cedar

But after searching for an hour, nothing became clear

No Sparty in sight, so they moved on, determined that they’d find him

Then Costello said, as Gary led, “Wait, what if we remind him?”

“What do you mean?” replied G,  as the rest of the team looked on

“Maybe he left because he forgot that he’s the best, we should remind him that he’s strong”

“Good idea—“ said Dawson fast, “But just how would we do it?”

“I’ve got it!” said Lacey, “We love him right? All we have to do is prove it!”

So Keith worked hard on building a plan while Denzel got the supplies

And soon enough, though the work was tough, a masterpiece was before their eyes

The team stepped back, and took a deep breath as they looked at what they had done

In wooden words with green and white paint read: “Sparty, you’re #1!”

They hung their message for all to see, as Gary lifted it with AP

And tied it tight in the sunlight with hopes that Sparty would see

They sat down and waited, they sat for hours as the time passed

Hoping Sparty would show up and come walking down the path

But the day went on and Sparty didn’t show, the team began to worry

“Sparty! If you’re out there, we miss you, please come back to EL in a hurry!”

The team started to get nervous until an idea struck Dawson like lightning

“Guys, how could we forget—Sparty loves cookies and ice cream!”

“You’re right!” said Lacey, and Costello too

“You’re right!” said Payne and the rest of the crew

So the gang went to the Dairy Store and got every flavor

Then Lacey put on her pink apron and taught the team to be bakers

They made delicious treats of every kind, filled with chocolate and with love

And the team returned to their sign, with cookies and ice cream by the tub!

Sure enough, within the minute, Sparty came racing over

And he grabbed Lacey and gave her a hug, then put her on his shoulder

“Where were you Sparty!?” asked the team “We were starting to get scared!”

But Sparty just shrugged and winked his eye, letting them know that he still cared

Then he bent down onto one knee and reached behind his back

And pulled out a Sparty doll he made for Lacey with “L.H.” on its tag

“You made me this!?” Lacey said as she smiled her famous smile

“Yes,” said Sparty, “It’s just for you, sorry it took me awhile”

Lacey thanked him and kissed his cheek

And the whole team sighed with relief

But not Izzo, he wasn’t pleased, he wanted Sparty to learn his lesson

“Sparty, that’s cute,” Izzo said. “But if you leave again, next game you won’t be dressing!”

Sparty looked scared, but Izzo smiled, and explained it was a joke

Then they all ate cookies and ice cream until dark (Sparty ate the most)!

 

What Makes Superman Fly?

People often wonder what makes Adreian Payne so great

Is it in his shoes? Or his jersey? Is it what he puts on his dinner plate?

NBA scouts, they want to know, they ask him all the time

How?! Just how is he so good? What makes Superman fly?

People pretend that they know the truth, but Spartans surely do

It’s not in his shoes, or in his hair, that makes his game the truth

No, it’s not his socks, or his looks, it’s not his laces either

It’s what’s in his heart, and who put it there, maybe one day you’ll meet her

Her name is Lacey, and she’s something special, for she is the driving force

Behind Superman and his super powers whenever he’s on the court

See, AP knows who he plays for, a girl with a gorgeous smile

He knows just what she means to him and it makes him go the extra mile

He’ll stop at nothing to win his games just to see her grin

He’d make ten threes, a no-look pass, he’d make a lay-up with a spin

If you need proof of Lacey’s power, well proof is surely there

At the dunk contest, Superman took flight, and flew right through the air

Everyone watched in awe as AP nearly broke the rim

But Lacey, she knew just what he could do, because she believes in him

And he believes in her right back, that’s what makes the pair so special

When AP sees little Lacey, his game goes to another level

His dunks shatter the ground, his shots are laser-perfect

And when Lacey sees her big bro win, everything is truly worth it

All the sweat and all the pain, all the times of sun and rain

Everything comes back around when Lacey stands up and Superman throws down

Other players have taken notice, they too want Lacey as their friend

And the best part about little Lacey’s love is that it never ends!

She’ll meet more players, and make new friends each and every day

And support them all as her big bro goes on to the NBA

So as you watch AP play, striving for a championship ring

As Mr. Payne becomes the best, and battles like a King

Just remember, as you ask “Why? What makes Superman fly?”

It’s really not that crazy

What makes Superman fly? A super girl named Lacey

 

 

America’s Princess

The story of Princess Lacey began with Spartan love

It began with a friendship, it began with a hug

But soon her story spread, far past the Great Lakes

It spread to girls and boys in every state

It spread to their Moms and Dads, and their families too

It made Americans say, “Lacey can do it, we can, too!”

Lacey inspired millions to fight and stay strong

Yes, that’s right, millions—won’t you come along?

Follow Lacey on Twitter, follow Lacey in life

Follow Lacey as she shows us how true Spartans fight

Learn about our Princess, learn about her history

She’ll tell you herself—it’s one full of victory

Yes, she wins every day, and people have started to notice

Just ask Jay Bilas, he’ll tell you he knows it

You might have heard of him, Jay’s a leader himself

He inspires fans and gives ballers his help

He teaches viewers how to execute plays

But Lacey taught him what it means to be brave

See Mr. Bilas, he’s not one to follow

But that doesn’t mean that his heart is hollow

Once he learned of Lacey, once he heard her story

He knew she was a Spartan destined for glory!

So he did something that he’s never done before

He clicked “follow” on Twitter and then did much more

He explained to his fans that he too had a hero

And why he no longer follows the number zero

Jay has seen big men and shooters galore

He’s seen players who know how to pass and to score

Mr. Bilas knows sports, and he’s been impressed

But he still only follows one—America’s Princess

Soon reporters all over wanted to meet her

They wanted all their viewers to happily greet her

From Good Morning America and the NCAA tourney

Millions follow Lacey on her inspiring journey

And it’s far from over, it has just begun

Lacey won’t stop until her battle is won

And once Lacey wins, it will be “on to the next”

For true Spartans know the best never rest

And Lacey is the truest kind of Spartan there is

Lacey is the type to show us that each day is a gift

Her smile is contagious, it makes us all cheer

It brightens a room, and makes us lose fear

Her story has been told on TV and in the press

After all, how can you beat Superman and a Princess?

The duo is unstoppable in every way

Lacey will follow her big bro to the NBA

And he’ll follow her back, for we all know how he cares

And now it’s their love all of America shares

Just ask Mr. Bilas, he’s a Duke Blue Devil

Who found a little angel, tougher than metal

But for every new fan that Princess Lacey gains

She touches a new life, and helps erase pain

Yes, Lacey has done more before the age of ten

Then ten thousand people and their ten thousand friends

So let’s be like Lacey, let’s make each day a victory

Let’s not stop fighting until cancer is history

Let’s all ban together, regardless of team

And spread love and support, let’s encourage dreams

Let’s all follow Lacey as she changes the world

Because she’s America’s Princess, not just a cute little girl

 

 

 

 

 

The Princess & The Dragon

Not so long ago, in a kingdom not so far away

There was a Princess who ruled each and every day

Her palace was huge and her people were happy

She ruled with King Adreian and his friend, Sir Appling

Yes, all was simple, and every person was nice

Until along came a dragon who blew fire and ice

The kingdom was scared, the people were nervous

“Princess Lacey, protect us, it’s your job, don’t desert us!”

The Princess was righteous, so she made up a plan

Sir Appling said he’d help, and King Adreian took her hand

“We’ll go face this dragon, we’ll go right to his lair!”

“But Lacey,” said her people, “Won’t you be scared?”

“Not a chance!” said the Princess, for she was fearless

Then she pulled King Adreian close and said, “A.P. I need you to hear this” 

He leaned in to Lacey and lent her his ears

“We have to beat this beast so our people won’t fear”

King Adreian nodded, he knew what had to be done

So he put on his jersey and Lacey started to run

He followed her fast, through the forest and trees

King Payne followed Lacey with his trusty friend, Keith

They both kept her safe and made sure she wasn’t in danger

Until along came a man, a suspicious old stranger

“I know the secret” the man said with a smile

“I can lead you to the dragon, he lives in the next mile”

Keith asked how to beat him, but the man wouldn’t tell

“First,” said the stranger, “let me cast a spell!”

King Adreian grabbed Lacey and made sure she was safe

The man looked at the Princess and said “I want all her lace!”

See, her dresses were gorgeous, the talk of the town

Every dress Lacey wore had lace all the way to the ground

“But that’s her specialty, you can’t take that away!”

Adreian cried out, much to the old man’s dismay

“Well then it’s no deal, I won’t tell you the secret!”

“Fine,” said Lacey, “But my lace, I will keep it!”

So they continued on and left the old man in the dust

Once they reached the mountain, dawn had turned into dusk

Now it was night, and the dragon crept out

He snatched up Lacey before she could shout!

“Oh no!” said Sir Keith, “AP, the beast got her!”

But they chased after the dragon, determined to spot her

And soon they did, she was up in his lair

But King Adreian knew that he had to play fair

So they both walked right in, and told the Dragon to run

But before they could fight, they saw Lacey having fun!

This dragon, he loved her, they both played and played

“That old man was awful!” she said “He made poor dragon his slave!”

“It’s true,” said the dragon, “He makes me be mean!”

“But I’m truly the nicest dragon that you’ve ever seen!”

King Adreian knew just what had to be done

So back through the forest with Keith he started to run

They found the old man and told him to leave all their people

Their kingdom had no place for those who were evil

And once the man left, the dragon was free

He flew through the air with Lacey, shouting “Weeee!”

They touched all the clouds and talked to the birds

And the dragon thanked them, for the love that he earned

“Don’t worry,” said Lacey, “My kingdom is great!”

“We even have dragon food, I’ll fix you a plate!”

The dragon scarfed it down and then he exclaimed

“The only thing that I’m missing now is my very own name!”

Keith looked at Lacey, then she looked at A.P.

“Hmm,” thought Lacey, “Well, let me see”

The dragon was short as most dragons go

But his heart was bigger than Lake Ontario

“You’re nice, you spit fire and ice, but your height— it is low”

“I got it!” Said Lacey, “We’ll call you ‘Izzo’!”

The dragon loved his name and then he proclaimed

“I’m Izzo the Dragon, and Princess Lacey gave me my name!”

So back to her kingdom the happy group went

Talking and laughing of their day well spent

And once they returned, all her people, they thanked her

“Oh, Princess Lacey,” they said. “We could never replace her!”

 

The Little Seed That Believed

If April showers bring May flowers, what do May flowers bring?

Smiling faces, beautiful gardens, and little girls that sing!

But every flower that will bloom in May, begins as an April seed

And just like people, love and care is what these seeds need

This is the story of a little seed that started out quite sad

The little seed, though he didn’t bleed, suffered from a crack

See the seed was born from Momma flower, but was bitten by a crow!

Some other seeds, they laughed at him, and said he wouldn’t grow

But the seed never listened, his true friends stuck with him

And he never lost faith in the power within him

So when April came, with a few drops of rain, and all the seeds were planted

Some were buried in the ground and took their love for granted

But not the little seed, for he was taught to always grow the love you’ve got

So when other seeds barely grew roots, up and up he shot!

They all looked around, under the ground, and noticed how he grew

“How is this so?! How can you grow!? This just cannot be true!”

Some jealous seeds said the little one would never grow to last

Until the little seed said, “Look, my roots popped out real fast!”

“Oh, that’s true!” said a seed shaped like a shoe, “I wish I was cracked like glass!” 

He just replied “You, and others too, just need love and time to pass!”

Then little seed, from a tiny crack, soon became leader of the pack!

And once the seed began to grow there was no looking back

Soon other seeds took his advice, and had no fear of ground

It wasn’t long before their town saw seeds begin to sprout around

As each seed burst into a stem, and their stems into their leaves

The other seeds couldn’t believe how they used to tease

“We’re sorry, friend!” they told the seed, who was now a gorgeous flower

His leaves were strong, his stem was firm, and he stood tall like a tower

“It’s not your fault,” he told them all, “we all have our different ways”

“Just remember,” he said, as the sun warmed his head, “be kind to those who may seem strange”

They all agreed and shared the sun, growing next to their favorite friend

The little seed, thanks to a crack, became the prettiest flower in the end

But he wasn’t done, though his life was fun, he had been growing for awhile

And now the time had come for the little seed to make a sweet girl smile

People came to pick and choose, but the little seed was not confused

He knew he’d meet the girl for which he grew his roots

She was just like him: destined to win, the prettiest one in all the fields

She came running by, hands to the sky, but then began to yield

The girl looked down, he caught her eye, his petals pink and shapely

The little seed was now a pretty flower enjoyed by Princess Lacey!