HS football player loses battle with cancer

FAYETTEVILLE The former football player is being remembered for his strength and spirit.

"I am at peace," Sloan's mother Marilyn Sloan said. "I feel like he is in a better place and no more suffering."

Sloan says the last year of her son's life wasn't about dying, but courage.

"He never complained, he always wanted to be brave about everything, even this disease he was brave," she said.

Lavelle Sloan's cancer kept him off the football field, but he was confident last December while he was getting treatment, that he would play again.

"I'm hoping when I get out of school, I can try out for a team," he said.

During his treatment he was inspired by Robert Quinn, a defensive lineman for the UNC Tar Heels. Quinn was treated for a benign brain tumor while in high school and is now cancer free.

Sloan says her son began to slip away a couple of weeks ago.

"I told him I loved him, I laid with him, I kissed him and everything and that was it so I know that he knew we loved him," she said.

For those who knew Lavelle Sloan, dealing with his passing has been tough.

"It was very difficult to break the news to a group of young people that don't understand why something like this would have happened," Pine Forest Athletic Director Vernon Aldridge said. "It's even difficult for a grown person to understand why."

School officials had planned an early graduation for Lavelle Sloan next week. Tuesday, they gave his mother his cap and gown, diploma and football jersey.

"We have made green and gold ribbons, our school colors, we will wear those this week to honor Lavelle," Pine Forest Principal Cindy McCormick said.

Friday is prom night the school and students will set aside a table and chair reserved for Lavelle Sloan. His funeral will be held on Saturday.

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