The "Cue Ball Club" explained

Highland Senior Secondary
Comox, British Columbia

By Joanna H. and Emily M. (Grade 12)

Face it, teens today have a pretty bad rep. They'’ve been called everything from bad seeds with no direction to incompetent slackers. Society has labelled the youth of today as unfeeling and, worst of all, uncaring. Well here’s proof that these generlaizations are way off base. Just before Christmas, Daren C., Ryan B., Mike G., Eric H., Steve K., Ben K., Gerry M., Bryan P., and Rene V. received the heart breaking news that their close friend Birch was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s disease.

This disease is a form of cancer which affects the lymphatic tissue. The illness is characterized by usually painless but progressive enlargement of lymph nodes and other lymphoid tissue. It is a condition in which there is a growth of tissue that serves no physiological function. Treatments may be one or all of several methods; surgical excision, radiation and/or chemotherapy. Birch is currently undergoing (and has gone through) both radiation and chemotherapy, which ultimately leads to hair loss, among other side effects.

Have you noticed the herd of bald guys roaming about the school? Well that pretty much sums up the results of this troop of Birch’s dedicated friends' reaction of support. "It was my mom’s idea," explained Daren. She got the idea from a newspaper article in which a group of boys shaved their heads in support of their friend who had cancer.

The guys discussed the idea amongst themselves and the proposal was widely accepted, "the hair was going to fly," so to speak.

"Finally we got this list of people shaving their heads in the same day!" Bryan stated, chuckling. They even documented the event for Birch on video. When asked of Birch’s initial reaction the group laughed, "...he laughed at us," Bryan offered.

When posed the extremely dry and mundane question of "why?" the group was united in their answer: moral support.

All expressed the importance of friends and the need to stand by them whatever the circumstance. Mike summed up the group's point of view "you just got to support your friends, no matter what happens."

When questioned what it was like to be bald, the hands all flew up to rub their stubbly heads. "It’s cold!" seemed to be the unanimous response. "I kinda like it, I may keep it this way for a while," Bryan said.

Daren smiled and added "...when we went to Star Wars it was funny, we took up a whole row, all bald."

Regrets? Absolutely none.

Despite the cranial temperature change, there have been no complaints about their adopted hair style. Though extremely low maintenance is required, Ben K. voiced his problem with shampoo: "even the tiniest drop is too much! You have to be careful."

His statement was received with a round of enthusiastic nods. When the more serious topic of Birch’s condition came up, the guys told us that Birch’s cancer had been caught in Stage A, which as Bryan explained was, "the best cancer you could possible have!" Unfortunately, frequent absences from school for chemotherapy may prevent him from graduating.

They informed us that Birch is handling it well, and other than the occasional bout of loneliness at chemo, everything is going as smoothly as it possibly can. It was a definite pleasure talking to Birch and his friends. All were graceful in offering information and refreshingly modest about their actions. Their dedication and uncandid explanation shows that they are the ultimate set of friends; caring, conscientious, and ready and willing to make sacrifices.

Quite a group! We know this is extremely corny but, Birch, we’re all rooting for you!

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