Lacey's family starts foundation to help other children

Matt Charboneau
The Detroit News

When Lacey Holsworth was battling cancer, nothing was more important to her and her family than finding some sort of normalcy.

For Lacey, that meant private dance lessons. Not only did it bring a smile to her face, it helped stimulate her recovery and got her back on her feet after surgery to remove tumors around her spine had left her unable to walk.

Lacey Holsworth, the St. Johns, Mich., girl befriended by Adreian Payne and the Michigan State basketball team, lost her battle with neuroblastoma last April at the age of 8, but it was her hope that other children battling cancer could enjoy the moments she did when dancing. That has led to Princess Lacey's Legacy, a foundation formed by her family to help kids fighting cancer to take part in things like dance, music, art – whatever they need to make them feel like a kid again.

"It was Lacey's idea to do this to help other kids and put a smile on their faces as much as you can when you go through fighting this disease, which is just terrible," her father, Matt Holsworth, said. "When a child has cancer the whole world just kind of ends. We want to see they do the things they did in past and it gives them a piece of their normal life back."

The nonprofit organization was officially formed last week will have a fundraiser on Wednesday at the East Lansing Buffalo Wild Wings from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. A portion of the proceeds from the day will be donated while there will also be raffles for signed Michigan State memorabilia, face painting and photo booths.

Matt Holsworth said the family is settling into their new roles in life without Lacey, an ongoing process for him and his wife Heather, as well as their three boys – Will, Mitchell and Luke. They try and stay in touch as best they can with Payne, who has been in three different cities in his first year in the NBA.

They also remain close with the Michigan State team and have been to a few games this season.

"The boys are doing good," Matt Holsworth said. "Lacey's big smile is definitely missed. There is a lot less sparkle and a lot less vibrancy in the house and she is definitely missed. There are good days and bad days and we just try to have more good than bad.

"The rest of the team is great and we still keep in contact with Michigan State and the guys there. They're extremely friendly and they keep inviting us back, so it's been good."

In addition to the fundraiser, the Princess Lacey Legacy has a website – – that has a donate button and an address where donations can be sent.