There was a lot of laughter, along with funny hair-cutting suggestions, Monday evening at Maddie Hill's home.

Then the room got quiet when her best friend, Emily Spaulding sat in the chair. Maddie and her mother cut Emily's shoulder-length hair to almost a buzz cut.

Then Maddie, 16, hugged Emily, who received the haircut to show support for Maddie's fight against cancer. She also hugged her boyfriend, John Sterner, and friends Levi Murphy and Nick Nace, who also got their hair cut to show her support.

"It's just incredible," Maddie said. "I have great friends, and I thank them for what they were able to do."

Maddie, a 16-year-old junior at Dover Area High School, is battling myelodysplastic syndrome (MDS) - a blood disorder involving the bone marrow - with which she was diagnosed on August 30.

The teenager's first bout with cancer was at age 8, when she was diagnosed with lymphoblastic syndrome.

Maddie's hair was cut earlier Monday to prepare her for her new battle, which continues Tuesday at Penn State Children's Hospital in Hershey.

While there, she will go through eight days of chemotherapy and then on Friday, Nov. 15, she will undergo a bone marrow transplant. Her brother, Travis Hill, 14, is the donor, said their mother, Dawn Hill.

"Anytime you have a child going through a procedure, you're concerned," she said. "But to have two children going through a procedure, you get stressed out a little bit."

Travis said he is glad to do the procedure for his sister and wants to do his part to show her how much he cares for her. He said he also was impressed by her friends' commitment to cut their hair.

More than two weeks ago, Maddie's friends promised to cut off their hair if they raised $2,000 to help Maddie's family pay medical costs.

They collected donations at school sports games and from the community, raising more than $4,000, which they gave to the Hill family Monday.

Then came time for the haircuts. After receiving her cut, Emily said she and Maddie will give their hair to Pantene Beautiful Lengths hair donation program which works with the American Cancer Society to collect hair and make it into wigs that can be worn by cancer patients.

Emily, a 16-year-old Dover High School sophomore, said she is glad she got her hair cut for Maddie.

"We've been friends forever," Emily said. "When she had cancer before I was really young and didn't understand what was going on. But now, I can be there for her and help her family."

John, 15, a Dover High School sophomore, and fellow Dover High School football players Levi and Nick - who are both juniors - all said their shaved their heads to help Maddie the best way they could.

"We wanted to raise a little money and raise some awareness about what she's going through," Levi said. "But it's nothing compared to what she's going to go through in the coming months."

Maddie said that her goal is to beat cancer and return to her high school soccer team for her senior year. After high school graduation, she wants to attend Penn State University and major in physical therapy or kinesiology.

Scott Hill, her father, wants much more for her.

"I want her to live a long, healthy life," he said. "I want to see her graduate from college, get married, have kids. She has so much potential."

-Reach Eyana Adah McMillan at