LFO student loses battle to rare disease - WRCBtv.com | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

LFO student loses battle to rare disease

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CATOOSA COUNTY, GA (WRCB) - Teammates and students at LFO High School are rallying around the family of one of their classmates, who lost his battle with a rare disease.

Seventeen-year-old Zane Crowder died Sunday after battling Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and HLH, a condition which affects the immune system.

Zane Crowder's teammates have created a memorial for him. His jersey still hangs in the locker room. 

His family says they are blown away from all the community support.

The school flag flies at half staff as classmates at LFO pause to remember the life of 17-year-old Zane Crowder.

One teammate says, "He was a great football player but actually an even better friend. He had an amazing personality." Another chimes in, "Yeah that's what I'll remember. I'll remember his personality more than I'll remember anything else. It's just, he had that personality where he always wanted to push you harder and he pushed himself." A third teammate agrees, "He was always a hard worker."

His teammates say Zane may have been more than six feet tall and on the offensive and defensive line but he was far from intimidating off the field.

"It's difficult to see somebody who had so much passion to be around friends, to be involved in athletics and so much love for his school. It's difficult to see that taken and our heart goes out to his family," says Todd Windham, Zane's former head football coach.

 "It's hard. He was my little brother. He was my little guy," says Zachary, Zane's brother.

Zachary says Zane had a tough battle with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis and HLH. He made frequent trips to Atlanta for blood transfusions and fought through the pain.

"You'd never know. You'd never have known it was so hard on him," says Zachary.

On Monday, students wore blue for HLH awareness and gathered at the flag pole in Zane's memory. They also started taking donations for Zane's family.

"These kids are good kids. Like, they're really good kids," says Zachary.

Zachary says Zane is the strongest person he has ever known.

"His biggest thing was he always wanted to be stronger. He always wanted to be the bigger stronger one because I was the older brother. Now, at the end, I can finally realize that that was true. He was a lot stronger than me."

Visitation for Zane is Thursday from 3:00-8:00 p.m. and Friday from 11:00 - 1:30 p.m. at Parkway Baptist Church. The funeral service will follow at 2:00 p.m. at Parkway Baptist Church.
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