For the love of a friend: Greenan cuts hair in support of Usry

Willa Greenan, right in left photo, cut her hair in support of friend Lila Usry, who was diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia. (Submitted photos)
For Starkville Daily News

For a pair of local girls, the strength of their friendship became evident in the wake of a sobering revelation.

On Nov. 9, Willa Greenan, who is the 11-year-old daughter of Mississippi State women’s tennis head coach Daryl Greenan, learned that her best friend Lila Usry had been diagnosed with Acute Myleoid Leukemia and would have to undergo treatments which would cause her to lose her hair.

Being so young, Usry was terrified at the tragic news she had received. Greenan, concerned for her friend, made a selfless decision to go through the upcoming events with her friend so that Usry would not have to be alone amidst all of the changes to come.

Greenan shaved her head in support of Usry despite what others may think and showed true friendship and love in the most courageous way possible.

“I really didn’t have any hesitation at all about the decision,” Greenan said. “I knew that it would make it easier for Lila if I shaved my head with her. Lila was scared to do hers, sowe decided to FaceTime each other when we did it.”

Willa’s parents, Daryl and Shannon, showed full support of their daughter’s decision and were both present to witness the heartwarming event.

“I was very proud and said yes immediately,” Shannon said. “Even though a few people discouraged it, as soon as I thought about Lila and how if Willa has a chance to make this just a little less painful for her, who am I to say no?

“It seems to be just what Jesus would do and we really just want to help ease the burden for the Usry family in any way we can.” Shannon said Willa was so fixed on shaving her head in support of Lila that telling her no wasn’t an option, because at the end of the day it was just hair.

Willa took her commitment a step further.

“Willa has even decided to keep her head shaved until Lila’s starts to grow back and then they can grow it back out together.”

Daryl was proud of Willa for the way she stood by her friend in a difficult time.

“Choosing to shave her hair when Lila was going to lose hers was an incredible act of love and support for her best friend and neighbor and these two have touched so many people,” Daryl said. “Although we were a little worried that some people wouldn’t understand why Willa chose to cut her beautiful locks, the response has been amazing and everyone at Willa’s school and around town have been incredible.

“I think that everyone is doing their part by supporting Willa as she does everything she can to help her best friend and we are all just praying for the day Lila is healthy and back home.”

Lila’s mother Heather was touched by the choice of Willa to do something so thoughtful at such a young age and grateful that Lila has such a loving friend.

“Willa’s gift was so fitting for this Christmas season,” Heather Usry said. “Her sacrificial gift to Lila was made all the more precious by the beauty and length of her thick dark hair.

“It seems like the embodiment of the season of giving and thinking of others, because she gave it freely and joyfully in the moment where it could make such a difference to ease Lila’s fear. It was such a selfless act for no other cause than her love for Lila. I feel certain that there is something very powerful and healing in Willa’s gift for Lila and for all who have been privileged to see a glimpse of this special friendship.”

The Greenan and Usry families are raising money to help Lila beat this disease with online donations. To help please visit