IDALOU, Texas — Like most 13-year-old girls, Annalise Guerrero loved her hair.
“That was her strength. She loved her long hair,” Servando Guerrero, Annalise’s father said.
On April 22, all her long hair was taken away.
“I got there within like 30 seconds to a minute. I jumped out of my vehicle, and they told me she was in the ambulance. All the staff was there around her, her coaches, and it was just heartbreaking to see her in that position,” Amanda Guerrero, Annalise’s mother said.
Annalise was playing volleyball during P.E. at Idalou Middle School when her coach noticed she wasn’t feeling well.
“She wouldn’t talk. She wasn’t answering anyone’s questions, and that’s not like her to not answer questions,” Idalou Middle School P.E. Coach Dana Fox said.
Coach Fox took her into the hallway thinking she might be dehydrated, and that’s when Annaliese collapsed.
“I just kept asking her questions, and when she wouldn’t respond, I started noticing twitching in her arm. Something that was unusual that I hadn’t seen before, and I’ve seen seizures, but this was different,” Fox said.
Fox said she got out her phone to call the athletic trainer, but something told her to call 911 instead. Doctors later said that decision might have saved Annalise’s life.
“I mean, she had been a normal little girl. She didn’t show any signs or anything like that of what was going on with her,” Amanda said.
Annalise was rushed to the hospital. As she was taken into surgery to relieve the pressure on her brain, doctors were forced to shave off all her hair.
“We knew she was going to be heartbroken when she found out it was gone,” Servando said.
She made it through several surgeries to stop the bleeding in her brain and remove a clot.
A few days later, as a show of support, the Idalou Middle School Principal had Annalise’s best friends shave his head.
“Threw out there that if we raised $200 that I would shave my head in support of Annalise,” said Idalou Middle School Principal, Josh Damron. “That $200 bar was met within the first 2 minutes of the morning. However, that $200 kinda became a benchmark. I think I had ten families bring that exact amount of $200, and we were able to raise almost $3,000 the first day, and we’ve been doing it ever since.”
The donations did not stop there. Idalou’s Elementary and High School began raising money, as well as Rawl’s Middle School. In total, they raised thousands of dollars for the Guerrero family.
“It’s a pretty overwhelming feeling. Something we have never experienced and we didn’t want to [have to] experience,” Servando said. “We just feel the whole love and the support of Idalou. It makes me feel really good and positive to keep going and fighting for her.”
Annalise is on the road to recovery. She currently cannot talk and only has limited motion, but her family knows she will not stop fighting.
“She’s really showing me that she’s got the warrior spirit just to keep on fighting, and nothing is going to slow her down,” Servando said.
The entire community is standing behind her and wanting to make sure she knows she’s loved, shaved head and all.
Annalise’s dad has also shaved his head in support of Annalise, and her family has also started a fundraiser to help pay for her medical expenses.
They will be hosting a Cornhole fundraising tournament on May 16 at the Idalou Clubhouse. If you’d like to donate to the Guerrero family use the QR code below.