Troy Haynes, 19, of Bridgeville, Del., a quarterback on a Delaware state champion high school football team, died Sept. 29 of kidney cancer at the University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston. He was posthumously honored by the Eagles this month.
A four-year starting quarterback for Woodbridge High School in Greenwood, Mr. Haynes led his Blue Raiders to state Division II championships as a senior in 2018 and a sophomore in 2016, his father, Troy Sr., said.
On Nov. 3, just before their game against the Chicago Bears, the Eagles paid tribute to Mr. Haynes and his family during a sideline ceremony. The Eagles gave the family a football autographed by kicker Jake Elliott and two framed photographs taken at the Aug. 8 preseason game Mr. Haynes attended with his teammates.
At his high school championship game last December, Mr. Haynes rushed for a touchdown and led the team to a 33-9 victory over Wilmington Friends, his father said.
Months later, in April, he was diagnosed with a rare and advanced form of kidney cancer.
Some Eagles players had visited Mr. Haynes at Einstein Medical Center, where he had his first surgery in May. A few also visited him at Nemours/Alfred I. duPont Hospital for Children in Wilmington, where he underwent additional surgery.
Mr. Haynes’ mother, Christina, said Elliott and tight end Zach Ertz shared their phone numbers with her son and kept in touch through texts and calls. In addition, she said, Ertz and quarterback Carson Wentz sent him video-recorded messages.
The cancer stumped doctors in Philadelphia and Delaware, so the family moved to Houston, where specialists treated Mr. Haynes with clinical trials.
“He graduated from high school on June 2, and on June 3 we moved to Houston,” his mother said.
Christina Haynes said she relied on assistants to operate her event-planning business, and her husband took a leave of absence from work when the family moved Mr. Haynes and his five younger brothers to Houston.
Her son was always mature for his age, she said, and never let on how much pain he was feeling. “He didn’t want us to worry about him,” his father added.
An honor roll student who also played basketball and baseball, Mr. Haynes had planned to study sports management at the University of Mount Union in Ohio this fall.
“He always told me his favorite sport was basketball, but he was better at football,” his father said. “He got more fame in football, but he was good at both basketball and baseball.”
Because Mr. Haynes wore No. 4, his team, classmates, and others sold “Fight Like 4” T-shirts and wristbands to raise money to support his family. There were donations from car washes, bake sales, and a GoFundMe account as well.
Mr. Haynes died one week after his 19th birthday. He had received video birthday greetings from friends and more than 6,000 birthday cards from students at several high schools in Delaware and people around the country, his mother said.
“They [his friends] couldn’t make it out to Texas, so they made all these video shout-outs to him,” Christina Haynes said. "It was awesome. He said it was the best birthday he ever had.”
In addition to his parents, Mr. Haynes is survived by a sister, Alonnah, and brothers Trey, Kyle, Jeremiah, Jaylen, and Josiah.
Services were Sunday, Oct. 6. Christina Haynes said more than 2,000 people attended Mr. Haynes’ memorial service at his high school football stadium.