BIG LAKE – When it comes to being one of the most supportive friends in the world, a group of Big Lake kids have made the “cut.”
On Monday, April 26, nearly three dozen of Colton Anderson’s friends shaved their heads to show they are standing next to their friend and teammate who is battling a rare cancer.
Colton, a 12-year-old who is in sixth grade at Big Lake Middle School, was recently diagnosed with Ewing’s sarcoma, a cancer that forms in the bones or soft tissue surrounding the bones.
Most common in children and teens, Ewing’s sarcoma usually starts in the leg bones and pelvis, but it can occur in any bone, according to the Mayo Clinic. Less often, it starts in the soft tissues of the chest, abdomen, limbs, or other locations, the Mayo Clinic suggests.
In Colton’s case, he recently noticed a lump on his arm. His parents Al and Melissa Anderson took Colton to the doctor after the boy stated that the bump was painful.
The doctor ordered an MRI, which showed Colton had cancer. A biopsy confirmed the cancer was malignant.
Next is a bone biopsy and chemotherapy at the Masonic Children’s Cancer Center of Minnesota, located at the University of Minnesota.
Colton knows that if he starts chemotherapy, he will most likely lose his hair. So he decided to go under the clippers for a close-up to get one step ahead of the drug’s effects.
When Colton’s friends from his Hornets youth soccer team heard the news, they also lined up to get clippers. Coaches, family friends, and other supporters also lined up.
Angie Spaeth, the mother of Colton’s best friend since kindergarten, heard about Colton’s diagnosis on Saturday, April 24.
She told some of his soccer coaches about Colton’s plans for a haircut, and they helped mobilize the teammates to support and support their friend.
“It’s just twisted into this,” Spaeth said, looking at a fire station full of people.
“We are all here to support Colton,” said Spaeth.
Lucas Evans of Clearwater has known the Anderson family most of his life and considers them his extended family.
Before Monday, April 26, Lucas had a big head of black hair. But five days before his prom at Annandale High School, his locks were shaved off.
“I’ll do everything I can for Colton, even with a prom in a few days,” Lucas said. “He’s like a little brother to me.”
Lucas says it hurt when he found out about Colton’s cancer diagnosis. That’s why it was important for Lucas to support Colton by shaving his head.
“It means a lot to me to be here,” Lucas said.
“Plus the hair grows back,” he said.
Big Lake High School seniors Aiden Miller, Jake Wesley and Tyler Beach are members of the Big Lake High School football team. They didn’t shave their heads, but wanted to be there to support a member of the Hornet football fraternity. “I saw it on Facebook,” Aiden said. “We dressed in our football uniforms and came down to support him.”
So did about three dozen of Colton’s soccer teammates who were found to have their hair cut in their gold and black youth soccer jerseys.
Colton said he was pleased that people came to the fire station on Monday, April 26.
“It touches my heart that people would do this for me,” said the 12-year-old shortly after having his own hair cut while friends, family and supporters watched.
And while the Anderson family was blindsided by Colton’s diagnosis, the boy has maintained a great attitude, Melissa Anderson says, and the family is counting on a good prognosis.
Colton’s experience with Ewing Sarcoma is likely to be a lifelong journey, his mother says.
The next nine months will be filled with chemotherapy, numerous drugs, surgery and possibly radiation.
“But if the cancer is localized and not in the bone, the prognosis is for a long, healthy life,” said Melissa Anderson.