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Helmut Schmidt, Published December 07 2012

‘He finished the race and got the gold medal’

FARGO – Ian Alves, a West Fargo High School junior who had been battling terminal cancer, died Friday.

Ian’s mother, Lise Alves, said her son, who loved running cross country and track, passed away about 8:45 a.m. Friday at Sanford Health in Fargo.

He was 16.

“He finished the race and got the gold medal,” she said.

Alves shared the news of her son’s death on the West Fargo youth’s CaringBridge web page.

“This morning, Ian went peacefully into the arms of his Savior. Until his last moment on the Earth, he was in the arms of Lise. (His older brother) Sean was chillin’ next to him. Sampson the family dog was curled up at his side. All the family was there. He just drifted off quietly.

“We are all of course very sad. We shall miss him, but we rejoice in the sure conviction that we will see him again and enjoy his love and our God forever,” Alves wrote.

Visitation will be from 5 to 7 p.m. Tuesday, with a prayer service at 7, at Community Presbyterian Church, 702 Sheyenne St., West Fargo.

Funeral services will be at 1 p.m. Wednesday in First Presbyterian Church, 650 2nd Ave. N., Fargo.

Ian fought two aggressive forms of cancer over the past 18 months.

He underwent two major operations to remove tumors caused by desmoplastic small round cell tumor, plus rounds of radiation and chemotherapy.

He also developed acute myeloid leukemia, a fast-growing cancer of the blood and bone marrow.

The whipsaw of competing treatments for the cancers left Ian drained and his body damaged, Lise Alves told The Forum in October.

Despite all the treatments, the DSRCT continued to spread.

Ian’s father died of brain cancer 6½ years ago, Lise Alves said. She said her son decided to end the treatments.

“He said, ‘Mom, I’m going home to see Jesus and to see dad.’ ” she said in October.

In addition to the loss of Ian, students and staff at West Fargo High School were grieving the deaths of two other students.

Early Friday morning, senior Levi Schulz was hit by a pickup while crossing Sheyenne Street near the intersection of 23rd Avenue South. West Fargo Police confirmed he died and was being kept on life support for organ donation.

Sophomore Tessa Miller died Wednesday. Her family also was keeping her on life support for organ donation.

Alves said Ian was able to enjoy time with family in Florida at Disneyworld, and also over Thanksgiving.

Many of Ian’s friends and fellow students went online to post their condolences on the Team Ian Facebook page.

“It was so fun knowing you buddy. We still love you and will be keeping the memories. Rest In peace,” wrote Taylor Christensen.

“Hey Ian ... It doesn’t really feel real yet. It’s really just, it’s hard. This whole week is,” added Bailey Hurley. “Can you please give WF a sign that everything is going to get better? There’s so many negative things happening, we need something to help us cope & give us closure with it all. You’re still the strongest, bravest kid I know. Love you buddy.”

In her CaringBridge post, Alves thanked everyone for their prayers and acts of kindness.

She also praised Ian’s caregivers at Sanford.

“We are especially grateful for the passion and compassion of all the doctors, nurses, and other medical folks here in Fargo and down at Mayo (Clinic in Rochester, Minn.) Your efforts helped us enjoy Ian for many more months and when his time came, you placed your arms around us,” Alves wrote.

West Funeral Home in West Fargo is handling funeral arrangements.

Condolences may be sent online to westfuneralhome.com.

In lieu of flowers, the family asks that new athletic shoes be brought to the visitation or funeral to be donated to people in need.

Lise Alves said it would also be a great honor if people wore Ian’s favorite color, blue, or West Fargo Packer colors to the visitation or funeral.

Readers can reach Forum reporter Helmut Schmidt at (701) 241-5583

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