ALTO, TX (KTRE) - On Thursday, the Alto football player who died after collapsing at a football game would have turned 17 years old.
"For Cam'ron this is probably the prettiest birthday he'll ever have because he's up in heaven and we all strive to get there one day," said Kimberly Hinson, the family's spokesperson.
Officials said Cam'ron Matthews suffered from an aneurysm during a game against Carlisle High School a few weeks ago. He later died at a hospital.
He's now living on through the lives of others after donating 7 of his organs.
"It's hard for us because I was telling my wife you usually wake up, and you'll see his face being anxious, wondering what he got for his birthday," said Ronnie Matthews, Cam'ron's father. "But to celebrate it in a different way is totally different from what we're used to."
Ronnie admits losing his only son is one of the toughest experiences of his life.
"It's just a devastating loss, Ronnie said. "It's nothing like I've ever seen as far as the emotions that you go through, losing a child that you're so close to."
Ronnie described the night Cam'ron collapsed on the field as one he and his family will never forget.
"Just being there when they laid him on the ground and seeing his face, I never seen him like that before," Ronnie said.
One of Cam'ron's coaches reacted fast when he noticed Cam'ron laying on the field.
"I grabbed his feet and started praying blessings and the will of God for his life," said Augustus Moore, one of Cam'ron's coaches.
Moore said his faith is what encouraged him to pray for Cam'ron's life.
"That night when everything took place it was like the Spirit of the Lord spoke to me and said I need to go down to the field," Moore said.
Ronnie took notice.
"I thanked him for that because I said if I'm going to lose my child what better way for him to go then to have someone praying for him," Ronnie said.
The Matthews family said the communities support is something that's helping them cope with their loss.
"One of the main things that helped comfort us is so many people saying so many kid and encouraging words," Ronnie said.
Last Friday night, different schools across East Texas celebrated Cam'ron's life by wearing Alto colors and his number proudly.
That is one reason his family loves East Texas.
"I always knew, and he always knew that East Texas was a beautiful place to live, and Alto was a beautiful place to live," Ronnie said. "But to see everybody reaching out to try and ease some of the grief, we really do appreciate it."
The family keeps several gifts from the community in a special area of their house for Cam'ron.
"We've gotten letters and prayers from people all over the country, and it's been amazing to see how much love people have," Ronnie said.
Painting every number one at the ten yard line is one of the many ways the school and the team is keeping Cam'ron alive.
"Every day when we break out of the huddle, the guys are saying, 'Cam Strong,'" Moore said. "If you look around on the football field we put his name in the middle of the field. You don't have to have signs. You don't even have to paint anything on the field. The memories that he left us should just speak for itself."