High school honors 7-year-old cancer victim

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The stands at Derby High School are typically filled with fans wearing the school color of green. But Tuesday night, everyone wore blue to support their biggest fan who died far too soon.

“It’s truly amazing,” said Katie Roberts, Carter Roberts’ mother. “Carter saw more in his seven years than a lot of people will see in their lifetime. And that’s because of all the support we have been given.”

Carter Roberts was just 7 years old, and was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer last year. But his family said he was also Derby High School’s biggest basketball fan. After all, his dad played there 17 years ago.

“He played YMCA basketball and his number was 52 and he always wanted to be just like his dad,” Katie Roberts.

The Panthers boys basketball coach is a family friend and knew his players had to do something when Carter died last weekend.

“The kids over there,” Brice Roberts, Carter’s father said. “I’m sure I know a couple, but haven’t met many of them until this year. It’s crazy to see.”

Coach Brett Flory knew he had to step in.

“Hopefully we can help his memory live on tonight and pay tribute to him because he’s a wonderful kid and it was a wonderful family” Flory said.

They honored his family with blue flowers and presented a donation to Carter Tough, a fundraising effort to help with medical expenses. But Carter’s influence seemed to go farther than just the high school.

When the KU basketball team found out he was also a fan of theirs, they met him on person on the court last year. Carter’s donation page is also filled with family, friends and strangers who never met him but were inspired to help anyway he could.

His parents call the response nothing short of overwhelming. They’ve been forced to live with the nightmare of losing a child, but say the secret to surviving through it – is focusing on their good times with him.

“It’s that smile,” Brice Roberts said. “He had this laugh and it was a belly laugh. He would start shaking, just laughing so hard.”

Along with Derby, teams and fans at Mulvane also wore blue as a show of support Tuesday night.

And the shirts that many fans and players were wearing were organized and sold by Derby’s opponent – the Salina South basketball team. Proceeds again will go to the Roberts family.

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