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Community uses football to honor a child who passed away from cancer

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EAU CLAIRE (WQOW) - Over 100 kids between third and 12th grade laced up their football cleats, put their receiver gloves on, and hit the the Regis High School football field for a special cause Thursday.

Normally, football is a two-team sport, but Thursday everyone was on the same team - Ashton Adam's team.

"It means a lot that people took time out on their own time to do something like this. We know how precious time is," said Martin Adams, Ashton's father and head coach of the Ashton's Angels Football Camp.

Last year, Martin and Robin Adams' son Ashton was transmitted to Marshfield Children's Hospital with a brain tumor and diagnosed with atypical teratoid rhabdoid (ATRT), a rare form of brain and spinal cancer.

"All of his doctor appointments were great, and he was ahead of schedule. He was just about to start walking, he was just about to start talking, and then all of a sudden I come home after an overnight shift at work, and then my wife told me she had taken [Ashton] to the hospital, and the doctor told us he had a tumor. He had a mass in his brain," Adams said.

For the next 127 days, Ashton had a family member by his side every hour of the day.

In April 2020, Ashton passed away. He was 1-year-old.

"It's been a nightmare ever since," Martin Adams said. "No matter what, Ashton always fought hard, even when he was going through chemotherapy as a baby. He was very playful, always happy, and loved his sisters, mom and dad. He was just a lovable, playful little boy."

To honor his son, Martin Adams, a former Chippewa Valley football coach, organized Ashton's Angels Football Camp.

"Being able to hear and say his name, and remember him, it just really means a lot to me. It puts a smile on my face to hear his name, and to know that he is still here with us, and still being remembered by people in the area, " said Randi Strangstalien, Ashton's aunt.

Ashton's legacy will stretch far beyond the Regis football field, as each camper received a blue and gold t-shirt with the camp's logo on the front. Gold symbolizes cancer, and blue is the color Martin Adams said he associated with Ashton.

Adams said he hopes Ashton's Angels Football Camp becomes an annual event. All the proceeds will go to the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Marshfield.

To make a donation, click here.

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Evan Denton

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