by: Erica Bryant Updated:
IREDELL, N.C. - Local high schools across the Charlotte area are coming together for a student, West Iredell football player 16-year-old Dalton Edwards.
Edwards has liver cancer.
Edwards and his mom walked to center field at West Iredell High, and his football team marked it with his number Friday night in tribute after learning he has liver cancer.
"I didn't know I was that much loved until this happened, how fast the word had spread -- it has been incredible," said Edwards.
Words have spread, and school students painted the school rock in his honor and passed out "Team Dalton" stickers.
Edwards said the hardest part was telling his friends the news; he has faith that he will beat the illness.
"They say I have had it for six months. I haven't felt anything and haven't gotten sick. ...Why would it do anything now?" questioned Edwards.
Now he is preparing for surgery midweek to remove a tumor described as the size of a basketball.
Young people all across Iredell County plan to pray, and coaches organized a T-shirt sale fundraiser to help with medical bills.
Coaches organized a T-shirt sale fundraiser to help with medical bills.
"A lot of students from different schools [are] wearing Carolina blue on Wednesday to show their to show their support," said coach Mike Natoli.
" ... give by way of [buying] a T-shirt or give to help to help this family offset come costs coming in the future," said soccer coach David Heintz.
Longtime friends vowed to see him through this.
"He's my best friend, I want to hear the words come out of his mouth that 'I beat cancer, and I'm a survivor,'" said Tori Rodriguez.
In the meantime, Dalton's mother said they feel amazingly blessed by all of the support.
"It's very overwhelming to know an entire community loves your child this much, and I'm grateful, very grateful," said Jeri Edwards.
"I ask people to pray that's all I want, nothing else ... just prayers, I'll get better," said Dalton Edwards.
Schools come together for West Iredell football player with liver cancer
Police: High school senior shot, killed during party in south Charlotte
UNCC quarterback, younger brother of Panthers TE, arrested on rape charges
Alcohol a factor in deadly northwest Charlotte crash, police say
Fatal crash in SC may be connected to drive-by shootings