H.S. football player dies of cancer - WKRN News 2

H.S. football player dies of cancer

Posted: Updated: Dec 3, 2010 06:31 PM CST
Dylan Rebeor was diagnosed with colon cancer last spring. He passed away this week. Dylan Rebeor was diagnosed with colon cancer last spring. He passed away this week.

COLUMBIA, Tenn. – A 16-year-old Columbia teen has lost his battle with cancer.

Dylan Rebeor was diagnosed with colon cancer last spring.  He passed away on Friday morning.

Rebeor attended Columbia Central High School and played on the high school's football team.

Unable to play this school year, the team dedicated their season to Rebeor. The team won their second straight state championship game on Friday night.

"We found out this morning about 6 o'clock that he had passed away during the night," Head Coach Vance Belew said.

Belew said Rebeor was an inspiration to the team and taught them some important lessons in the game of life.

"I know he didn't want the team to feel any extra pressure because of his situation. He just became a source of inspiration," Belew said.

Rebeor's mother and step-father were in the stands during Friday night's game.

"We are here. Dylan would want us here and he is here," mother Heather Rebeor told News 2.

The teen step-father, T.J. Brown spoke highly of the school's football team.

"They meant a lot to him as much as they meant to him. They are an outstanding group of young men. I can't say enough about them," Brown said.

Students wore t-shirts with Dylan's uniform number 25 for the championship game.

Friends made up hundreds of blue ribbons to symbolize support to find a cure for colon cancer. Columbia students and fans, as well as Hendersonville fans wore the blue ribbons during the game.

Long time fan and former player, Larry Thurman stood at the buses to offer support and encouragement to the players and the coaches as they left the school.

His emotions ran from exuberance to sadness, a tear falling down his cheek. "We've got a loss in the family right now, but we're holding up. We'll be excited; we'll be playing hard," Thurman said.

Vince Springer, principal of Columbia Central told News 2 he is amazed at the young men on his football team, both on the field and off, as they've been dealing with Dylan's sickness since last March.

"I know that Dylan is on their mind, and the strength they've shown this year and the courage. They've been an inspiration to everybody," Springer said.

Columbia High senior Ruth Moore told News 2 that Dylan had become too ill to travel to Cookeville for the game and finds some comfort knowing now, he'll be able to watch it.

"He gets to be there." Moore said.

During halftime, Rebeor's mother, step-father and sister paid honor to the teen through Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Rebeor requested that new pads and helmets go to his teammates through the foundation.

 "He was unselfish. He cared more about others than himself. He would want everyone to hold their families tight, close and always tell each other you love them," Heather Rebeor said.

Funeral arrangements for the teen are still pending.

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