Teen Fighting Lymphoma Has Prom of Her Dreams with Wig of Friend’s Hair
16-year-old Alyssa White from Fairfield Area High School in Pennsylvania was diagnosed with Hodgkin lymphoma in January of 2018. According to her mother, Gail White, her diagnosis came out of the blue. “She was asymptomatic, except for a couple of swollen lymph glands” she said. Gail is a medical technologist, so she is no stranger to the world of medicine. “I’m a mom, and you do everything for your kids. She’s everything to me” she said. She and her daughter have received tremendous help and support and thanks to the generosity of one particular friend, 29-year-old Ashley Smith of Gettysburg, White learned that her upcoming prom experience would not be defined by her condition.
Friendship - a beautiful and powerful thing
Smith and White met at camp - at Pine View Farm Fun near Littlestown. Smith was White’s summer camp counselor and, in the weeks that they had spent together, the young camper stood out for being “so loud”. Well after camp had ended, the two remained close and Smith was so impressed with the individual that White had become. “She is just so bubbly, and she’s so hopeful,” she said.
White even began to babysit Smith’s children and she used her own money to plan out fun activities for them. Smith was especially touched by how her friend chose to handle her diagnosis. “I can’t believe she’s so positive. I feel like I would be mad. But I guess it happens to those people that are strong enough to go through it,” she said.
On a Sunday, while at lunch, Smith presented White with an oversized card that read “You’re one tough cookie, and we all have your back.” The card was signed by friends of White, all of whom had donated to the YouCaring campaign. Smith then proceeded to share news about the campaign, which she had started back in February. “I cut my hair, and I sent it away, and all these people have helped me raise money to have a wig made for you in time for prom,” revealed Smith to White. As a side effect of the chemotherapy treatments that she had been receiving, White had lost all of her hair. Absolutely touched by her friend’s big-heartedness, she could not help but shed tears of joy. “It means everything to me. I’m so excited,” she said.
Read on to learn more about Alyssa White's empowering and inspirational story.
Photo: WFAA News