An earlier version of this story ran in The Matador.
After finding out that San Gabriel High sophomore Nadine Alvarez was diagnosed with leukemia, her friends struggled with how to show her their support.
“We knew her hair was going to fall off soon,” said senior Angel Navarro. “[We thought] it would be cool if we gave a little so she wouldn’t feel alone.”
Angel was only planning to shave her head with one other friend, senior Maria Soria. But when they told friends at Famille des Amie (FDA), a social club to which Nadine belongs, the other members wanted to do it as well.
So on Saturday February 12, Angel and six other girls went to Big Mike’s to get a new haircut. (Others wanted to join, but were unable to participate because their parents did not give them permission.) For $20, they had the sides of their head shaved into the shape of a ribbon.
“We were going to do a puzzle piece at first to show that sisters belong together,” senior Rachel Chui said. Maria Soria explained that they considered the cause of cancer and eventually chose a ribbon. “We decided to do a ribbon because it better represented the cause of cancer,” she said.
Although they are all happy with the decision they made, they received both positive and negative feedback from fellow classmates and teachers.
“Some people on Facebook said it was dumb and asked why we did it,” Maria said. “But everyone at school has been cool with it. Some of the campus supervisors saw it and said it was a really nice thing that we did [for Nadine].” Even though Nadine has only been in contact with her friends via Facebook, she has seen what they have done for her and appreciates their supportive gesture.
"[Nadine] was amazed and really happy that she has support," her sister, Natalie Alvarez, said. "She's happy there are people out there that really cares for her."
Nadine Alvarez has six months of chemotherapy left but according to her sister, she is recovering and staying strong along the way. Nadine's family has held several fundraisers for their daughter's medical care. If you would like to donate, please contact Christina Alvarez, Nadine's mother, at firstname.lastname@example.org.