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Vigil honors HS football player who died of mono

PALOS HEIGHTS, IL — “How are you so carefree and happy all the time?” Cadence Jones said. “And then he said to me, ‘Cadence, life’s too short to have a care in the world.’ You don’t know what tomorrow will bring, so you just have to live your life.”

Those were words of wisdom from Jones — girlfriend of student Alan B. Shepard and football standout Ryan Plowman — during Wednesday night’s soiree honoring Arat.

Family, friends, teammates and community members packed the bleachers at Shepherd High School around the field where the 17-year-old once played, sharing memories of the young man.

“Playing high school football with you for years, listening to Taylor Swift with you in the car even though I didn’t really like it,” said Aidan Wright, one of Plowman’s teammates. “I have so many wonderful memories that I will cherish and look back on in times of great despair.”

“In the 13 years I’ve known him, he’s never changed,” said Aiden Breslin, a friend of Arat’s. “He was always the kindest, most selfless and caring person you could ever know.”

Plowman died suddenly and unexpectedly last Saturday after being rushed to Comer Children’s Hospital where he tested positive for mononucleosis – or mono for short. A disease that is not usually fatal, Plumen’s parents said the treatment for Crohn’s weakened his immune system, making it unable to fight infection.

A GoFundMe page was created in Arata’s memory to help the family cover medical and funeral expenses and other financial expenses as they try to cope with his loss.


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