SPLENDORA, Texas - On Friday night, students from Splendora High School will be cheering for someone not even on their team. In fact, he doesn't even go to their school, but 16-year-old Layne Rodgers will have a whole crowd of support.
Almost two weeks ago, Rodgers, a high school junior, lost his leg to cancer and is now battling the disease in his lungs. He was diagnosed with Osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer, in September and had to leave school at Caney Creek.
On Oct. 30, doctors amputated his right leg.
"I'm not in pain," Layne told Eyewitness News.
The unbearable pain is gone. He uses crutches to get around and while he has not left home much since he got out of the hospital on Saturday, his story has spread.
"This is bigger than football," said Brendon Koch.
Under the Friday night lights, as Layne's school, Caney Creek, squares off against Splendora, cheerleaders and mascot "Willie the Wildcat," played by Koch, will be sporting "Cancer stay out of our Layne" shirts in support of Layne.
Koch, a high school junior, said it's the least he can do after Layne befriended him -- the new kid -- back in 7th grade.
"It's a really big deal. I haven't forgotten it," Koch said. "He's an awesome kid. He's really awesome. The best people get hurt the worst, unfortunately."
The game will be at Buddy Moorehead Stadium in Conroe and will be dedicated to Layne. His mother will be wearing a T-shirt, too. He still has more chemotherapy and surgery ahead of him, but hopes to be back playing baseball -- his passion -- somehow again next year.
His mother is looking forward to the game and the crowd of support for the son who inspires her everyday.
"I'm super proud of him. He's really strong, brave and courageous. I think sometimes we question why and then I think why not him? I think the Lord picked a pretty great kid to carry that burden just because of his strength," said LeAnn Perry, Layne's mother.
The T-shirts will be sold at the game to raise funds for Layne's medical expenses. A car show and benefit will also be held at Papa's Icehouse in Spring on Nov. 18 from 11 a.m. to midnight.
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