Lacey, diagnosed with neuroblastoma, a nerve cancer, in 2011 first met Payne during one of her many hospital stays a couple years ago. From there the friendship blossomed until they were referring to each other as brother and sister and texting daily. She often appeared at the Spartan's games and watched Michigan State's NCAA tournament run from the stands.
After Payne scored a career high 41-points during a game against Delaware, he spoke about what such an epic performance meant for both himself and his little BFF: "It's like having a family member who's really sick," he said. "The only thing you can do is play basketball. You can't be there with them. Just knowing that when I play well, it makes her happy. It feels like I'm doing something, in a way, to make her feel better."
Lacey's father, Matt Holsworth, shares with the Associated Press that she passed away at home "with her mommy and daddy holding her in their arms … please don't let her love and smile fade."