ENGLEWOOD — Lemon Bay High School football player and wrestler Jerone Campbell’s death on Friday shocked his family and friends and prompted an outpouring of support from the entire community.
Friends, family and supporters will gather at 2:30 p.m. today to remember Jerone — No. 28 was his football jersey number — in an open ceremony at the school at 2201 Placida Road.
Jerone, 17, died Friday during a routine tonsillectomy at Charlotte Regional Medical Center in Punta Gorda. He never woke up from surgery.
Lemon Bay Touchdown Club, an athletic booster club, has organized a celebration of his life. The organization will memorialize the running back with a T-shirt bearing the words “Fly High No. 28.” Jerone used “Fly High” as the hashtag on his social media communications.
The Touchdown Club ordered 200 shirts, of which 97 will go to football players. The remaining shirts will be available at the memorial for a minimum $10 donation to the Jerone Campbell Memorial Fund. Orders for shirts will also be taken at the ceremony.
“I wanted to do something for the team,” said Mary Kay Norus, a graphic designer who designed the logo and supports the Touchdown Club. “He won’t be forgotten. I wanted the people to have something to remember him by.”
Lemon Bay cheerleaders with Norus’ blessing used the design to put on bows they are selling for $5.
Funds collected will be used to a pay for funeral expenses. The Touchdown Club partnered with the New Paradigm Foundation, a nonprofit Englewood organization that provides transitional housing, to help collect donations.
“You never really prepare to pay for funeral expenses for your 17-year-old son,” said Kathy Nelson, cofounder of the New Paradigm Foundation and also a member of the Touchdown Club. “This is another example of people who are trying to help others in the community.”
“There’s been an overwhelming amount of support from the community,” said Brian Morrow, a member of Touchdown Club.
Morrow and club member Tom Hinck worked with the Campbell family to make arrangements for services for Jerone.
The club also organized covered-dish food donations to feed the family during this difficult week. Donations of food are still needed for after the funeral and can be arranged by contacting Stacie Sparks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Funeral services are planned for 11 a.m. Saturday at EUMC, 700 E. Dearborn St. Receiving starts at 10 a.m. Burial will commence following services at Gulf Pines Memorial Park.