WEST CHESTER, Oh. - It's the night before Lauren Hede starts radiation treatment for brain cancer and the rising sophomore at Lakota West High School is crying on the phone.
But the volleyball player's tears aren't all unhappy, according to her best friend Sara Parente, who's on the other end of the conversation.
Hede's tears are of gratitude for the support she's found through social media, support she never sought and didn't expect.
Parente, also a rising sophomore at Lakota West along with rising junior Bailey Nixon, play volleyball with Hede. The pair turned to Twitter to rally support for their friend.
"We started being best friends in seventh grade and we never thought anything like this would happen," Parente said. "She's an active volleyball player and she can't play right now. That's the worst thing that's been on her."
#TeamHede starts trending
Twitter seemed like the place to let everyone know about Hede's battle.
"We decided to look to Twitter," Parente said. "That is where most of the people we know, that's where they go. We know that there's trends and we wanted it to trend on there so others can find out."
"It was so touching seeing everyone come together," Parente said. "Even if we have our differences, there's something there."
Before creating the @TeamHede Twitter handle and #TeamHede hashtag, the girls thought of making bracelets and T-shirts in support of Hede.
"But we realized we need to get the word around and have people realize what's going on," Nixon said. "And maybe get them to be part of the cause to help Lauren."
Outpouring of support
Helping Hede is exactly what the girls are doing, and they aren't going it alone.
Messages are coming from perfect strangers too, even famous ones like Cincinnati Reds player Todd Frazier who tweeted " Pray for #TeamHede ," a message that went out to his 39,381 followers and was retweeted more than 258 times.
"She deserves it for what she's been through," Parente said, choking back tears. "I've never met anyone as strong as her, really."
"I am a teammate," she explained, also tearing up. "And anything goes for a teammate, no matter what team you're on."
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