Sinoi Moimoi has gone through 17 years of dialysis three times per week because her kidneys failed while giving birth to her son, who weighed 9 pounds, 10 ounces.
But she said Wednesday that the pain was worth it as she watched Spencer defensive linemen Mark Moimoi and Andre Carter sign with the same college football program, LaGrange College.
"I'm just so proud of him and to see this moment," she said as mother and son wore traditional Samoan necklaces of kukui nuts, which celebrate joyful occasions and symbolize good luck.
Ironically, Mark Moimoi losing weight -- from 320 pounds to 285 pounds on his 6-foot frame -- helped him become a Ledger-Enquirer All-Bi-City second-team defensive lineman and a first-team offensive lineman in Region 5-AA.
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He recorded 78 tackles, 10 tackles for loss, 1 forced fumble and 2 fumble recoveries as a senior.
Carter (6 feet, 280 pounds), recorded 53 tackles, 7 tackles for loss, 3 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery and 4 sacks as a senior. He also excels in wrestling. He qualified for the state sectionals by finishing second in the heavyweight division at the area championships Saturday.
Moimoi and Carter call each other brothers and are elated to still play together.
"I feed off of him," Carter said.
They both had offers from Presbyterian and Stetson as well, but LaGrange is far enough away from home to be on their own but still close enough to be near family.
"They also were showing the most interest," Carter said.
Spencer coach Calvin Arnold said, "It was a blessing to have these type of young men in my first year as head coach. They are leaders on and off the field."
Moimoi returned the praise: "I love this school, man. You showed me love. I didn't make it here alone."