AP NEWS

Buddies Stand In Solidarity With Teen Battling Cancer

May 6, 2019

DALLAS TWP. — As Jace Chopyak’s hair started to fall out in clumps from his chemotherapy treatments, his middle school buddies invited him over for a pizza party.

It ended up being a head-shaving party to stand in solidarity with the 14-year-old battling Hodgkin’s lymphoma.

Jace’s parents, David and Tracy Chopyak, had planned to shave his head the next day because his hair was falling out. Their hearts are warmed 11 of his friends took it upon themselves to make the experience an easy one on Jace.

“All those kids decided to have a pizza party, have him over and they shaved their heads down to the scalp,” Tracy Chopyak said. “It’s incredible. It was probably the best thing they could have done in the situation. It would have been hard to have shaved his head at home, alone. They laughed the whole time they were doing it and had fun with it.”

The friends who shaved their heads are Parker Bolesta, Michael Bufalino, Tucker Chesman, Sean Dolan, A.J. Fife, Ricky Hoyes, J.D. Jennings, Eddie Maier, Will Snowdon, Nathan Sopp, Brady Wood. Most of them are Jace’s eighth grade classmates at Dallas Middle School.

“It’s something I will appreciate my whole life. I know that,” Tracy Chopyak said.

Aside from his parents and friends, Jace has an army of siblings rooting for him, Taryn, 21, David, 19, Blake, 18, Bryce, 15, and Bradyn, 11.

Jace recently wrapped up several months of chemotherapy. He has a series of tests scheduled soon to determine if the cancer has been eradicated.

Jace said his buddies really lifted his spirits with the head-shaving party.

“Once my hair started falling out, I was scared and nervous that I would look stupid and stuff. If they didn’t do it, it would have been a lot harder,” Jace said. “It’s pretty hard, but with these friends, it made it a lot easier.”

Jace said he noticed a lump near his neck one day at soccer practice and his parents soon took him to a doctor. Then he learned he had cancer.

The teenager hasn’t been to school much lately because of fatigue and the risks of getting sick. He’s hoping to get a clean bill of health so he could resume his life as normal.

“I’m just hoping to get back to playing soccer and being myself,” Jace said.

Contact the writer:

bkalinowski@citizensvoice.com, 570-821-2055, @cvbobkal