The little girl who stole the hearts of so many in West Baton Rouge, Azalee Carroll, lost her battle with cancer Sunday, November 17, in her mother’s arms at St. Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tenn.
The West Side Journal chronicled much of Carroll’s story, as the Port Allen High School football team rallied around the 6-year-old, praying for her and wearing stickers on their helmets as a reminder to continue to pray for her during her battle with cancer.
“She loved drawing, painting, and doing crafts,” said her mother Amanda. “She left us a lot of memories.”
In her six short years, Azalee touched innumerable lives, according to Amanda, whose unyielding faith, as well as Azalee’s warm cheerfulness during the hardest trial of their lives inspired nearly everyone who heard their story.
One of those people was Port Allen’s football coach, Guy Blanchard.
“She really inspired me, personally,” said Blanchard whose team prayed for Azalee at every practice and every game. “I saw a little girl who was fighting for her life for a second time. That really hit home with me. Every single day one of the guys would mention her. There was never a day that we were together that we didn’t mention Azalee.
“She was a big inspiration to our team. We felt like if she could battle this, there was no opponent that we would take on that was any tougher than that.”
Blanchard said that several members of the Pelicans’ football team have already approached him about making t-shirts that read “in memory of our little sister Azalee.”
“She showed us that there is a lot more to life and more important things than just the game of football,” said Blanchard. “That’s what we as coaches try to do, but she taught them that. She had a huge impact on them.”
Azalee was laid to rest Thursday, November 21 in Plaquemine. Family and friends gathered to remember the courageous little girl and honored her memory by wearing her favorite colors, playing the SpongeBob SqaurePants theme song, and surrounding her with stuffed animals as she was laid to rest.
“She was a true warrior,” said Amanda. “No matter how bad the situation got, she still managed to smile.
She was a true gift from God. She was so full of life and she loved everyone. There’s not enough words to describe the pain and emptiness in my heart right now.
“I appreciate St. Jude for helping keep my baby here as long as possible. They carried us through some very hard times; they treated us like family, and never asked for a dime in return. I encourage anyone to donate to St. Jude’s any time they get a chance. St. Jude is a magical place and we wouldn’t have been anywhere else but there for our situation. They were such a blessing in our battle.”