January 25, 2014

Community rallies around Team Esme

Late last year, doctors diagnosed Esme Miller, 9, with osteosarcoma, a form of bone cancer. On Dec. 27, she began what is planned as a 29-week protocol of chemotherapy.

Chemotherapy makes patients nauseous and drains them of energy, and Esme has been no exception. But she has handled her diagnosis and treatment with strength and grace. When family members try to help her with things such as pulling her shirt over her arm because she has limited mobility, her motto has become “I’ve got this.”

And while Esme has stood strong, she has family, friends and a community willing to stand by her. And they came out in force to support her on Wednesday.

The chemotherapy has caused Esme to lose her hair. So more than 20 boys, fellow students at Westwood Elementary School, had their heads shaved in the school gym to support her.

“My dad told me that hair doesn’t really matter,” said Nathan Riggle, one of the boys who had his hair cut. “We’re trying to prove to Esme that hair doesn’t matter.”

As the boys got their hair cut, Esme and her friends watched and recorded video of them.

“It was funny because they were making faces,” she said. “It makes me feel happy.”

Hair stylists from Tease Salon handled the clipping. They’d already donated a hair party for Esme and her friends, clipping Esme’s hair short and styling that of the other girls.

Dalton and the Westwood school community can be proud of how they have rallied around Esme, and when Esme has to go to Atlanta for treatment, she knows that she has the thoughts and prayers of many, many people with her.


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