Whitewright High School sophomore honor student and varsity football player Larry Donaldson died after months of illness Monday. School for all of the Whitewright Independent School District has been canceled Friday in honor of Donaldson’s funeral service.

Donaldson fell ill with the flu in October, which deteriorated into respiratory disease causing him to be placed on life support at Medical City Dallas in November. A massive stroke in December worsened his condition.

WHS Principal Steve Morrow explained Donaldson and his family have been a large part of the WISD community.

“His mom works at the elementary,” Morrow said. “She is a teacher and she coached our volleyball girls in the fall. Larry had been in the district since the third grade. His sister graduated as our salutatorian last year. His brother is in the sixth grade. And of course, Larry was in the high school. This really affects the whole district. Everybody knew him. They always showed up to games and events. This is a big loss.”

In addition to football, Donaldson also played basketball for WHS. The Howe varsity girls and boys basketball teams presented the Whitewright teams with a signed poster with Donaldson’s number at last night’s games. The middle school games have been canceled for Thursday.

A benefit had been held to aid Donaldson’s family with medical costs on Dec. 15. The event raised $34,919.24 to help with extensive medical equipment needs. Two days later, a blood drive was held in his honor by Carter Blood Care.

Public visitation for Donaldson will be held from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Waldo Funeral Home in Sherman. A celebration of life will follow at 11 a.m. Friday at King’s Trail Cowboy Church in Whitewright.