ROSWELL, Ga. – Football players at Roswell High School shaved their heads at the Aug. 24 pep rally to support a Roswell North fourth-grader named Rachael Buckner who is undergoing chemotherapy for leukemia and opted to shave her head.
Rachael, a huge hornet fan who loves Roswell High School football games, was diagnosed with Acute Lymphoblastic Leukemia (ALL) a month ago, and since then, the community has come together to help her and her family in their time of need.
She could not personally attend the event, so it was recorded for her. That way, she could watch as the football players stepped up to have their heads shaved by cancer survivor and hairstylist Leigh Maier as well as Melanie Kessinger.
One football player in particular, Cameron Whiteman, who is known for his blond dreadlocks, had them shaved off to show his support. The support wasn’t just limited to the players, however, as team trainer Jourdan Cox decided to have her long hair shaved off.
Each player also spoke words of encouragement to Rachael such as “be strong” or “I’m playing for you.”
“The boys offered such wonderful words,” said Janelle Selembo, a Roswell mother. “It was such a powerful and emotional experience. I don’t think there was a dry eye in the place. I was really moved.”
Carrie Kelly, Roswell High School corporate liaison, said she felt blessed to witness the event.
“Watching these boys and girl shave their heads and send messages of encouragement to a little girl they did not know but felt such compassion for – it was truly amazing to be a part of such selfless acts of unconditional love,” she said.
Many were present at the “One Roswell” themed pep rally. Football fans, players, cheerleaders, band members and JROTC cadets all came out to kick off the 2013 football season.
“One Community, One School, One Tradition” is the meaning behind the theme, and Selembo said it embodies how much of a tight-knit family the community of Roswell is.
“‘One Roswell’ is a good start, but words do not come close to what we in Roswell have learned to just call home,” Kelly said.