The caps for Columbia Middle School's baseball team got a bit looser last week.
As a show of solidarity for shortstop Cameron Busby's little brother Carson, who is undergoing chemotherapy to treat leukemia, members of the baseball team had their heads shaved Wednesday after practice.
Carson, 9, spoke little but grinned often as he watched his brother's teammates grimace at the sound of shears approaching their heads.
"I know Carson was quiet, but when he got home he said, 'Mom, that was cool,' " said the boys' mother, Kristen Busby. Their father, James Busby, is an assistant coach for the team.
The head-shaving show of support was launched by Columbia Middle athletic director and baseball coach Dennis Carraway.
Carraway's cousin Michael Carraway, who is the son of Columbia County Deputy School Superintendent Sandra Carraway, was a member of Greenbrier High's baseball team when he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's disease six years ago. Michael Carraway's teammates shaved their heads when he started losing his hair because of the treatments.
"I told them (Columbia Middle's team) about what we did then for my cousin and they took it from there," Dennis Carraway said. "They got on board with it pretty quickly."
Carraway was the first to receive a trim Wednesday.
Operating the shears were Salon 140 owners Jodi Sutton and Sherry Summers, whose son Colton Williams plays baseball for Columbia Middle.
"I thought this was such a great thing they were doing for Carson," Summers said. "I immediately agreed to do it. How could I not?"
Cameron, 14, said all but a couple of his teammates agreed to the buzz cuts.
"It didn't really take much convincing," he said. "They were pretty cool with it."
When Carson, a third-grader at Lewiston Elementary School, first was diagnosed with cancer last month, Busby said she was concerned that Cameron might feel jealous at the extra attention his brother was receiving.
"He's been such a great big brother," she said. "He's been so supportive of Carson and so caring."
Carson is being treated at Medical College of Georgia Children's Medical Center. Busby said the treatments likely will last three more years.
"The cancer robs children of so much at a time when they should be playing, going to school, having fun," she said.
Like his brother, Carson is a shortstop who has played on travel teams and with the Martinez-Evans Little League. In his final tournament, before his cancer diagnosis, Carson posted an .833 batting average, hit a home run and was named tournament MVP.
Though he has been brave throughout his treatments, Carson has internalized much of his emotions, Busby said.
"I remember we came home from one of his treatments and a new bat bag we bought him from Christmas was on the floor and he just broke down and started crying," Busby said.
"I think that's when it really hit him."
Busby believes Carson's story might encourage others to also donate to organizations seeking cures and better treatments for children suffering from cancer.
"I'm hoping that if there is more awareness maybe more could be done (to study) different drugs and protocols that are shorter with less side effects, so children can get back to (doing) what they do best -- living," she said.
The Columbia County News-Times ©2013. All Rights Reserved.