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Aggie Basketball player Tyrece Radford unveils new look to support friend during cancer fight

Last week, Texas A&M guard Tyrece Radford decided to cut his dreadlocks to show solidarity with his former advisor battling cancer.

COLLEGE STATION, Texas — Last week's win over Mizzou featured a new look for Tyrece Radford.

"I didn't do it for any attention. Didn't want any attention for it," he said.

His signature dreads were absent after a fresh cut at the barber shop.

"I love it! I think it's great," said Alise Svilha. "Tyrece and I were actually joking about it because he was like 'don't I look like I did when I first met you and I couldn't talk?'

Svilha first met Radford as his academic advisor at Virginia Tech. Radford struggled as a student at first, but Svilha's tutelage helped him turn things around.

"Alise helped me change my study habits in three years from being an academic redshirt to graduating in three years now on pace to get my masters," said Radford.

The pair spent countless hours in study halls and organizing a plan for Radford's coursework. Their friendship didn't dissolve after Radford received his diploma. 

"It's for life and that's so so important to me," said Svilha. "I wouldn't be able to stay in this field for as long as I have 17, 18 years now if it wasn't for these relationships."

"It means a lot to me for a person who didn't know me out of nowhere to actually take the time to dive deep with getting to know me," said Radford.

In October, just after her 40th birthday, Alise received a devastating diagnosis: Stage 4 colon cancer. Tyrece was one of the first to find out.

"If we were together, we would've cried together," Radford said solemnly. "I shed tears when I first heard it. It was hard. I just wanted her to know that I'm with her for life." 

Alise is now an advisor at Coastal Carolina, which hosts the Myrtle Beach Invitational. Shortly after receiving the news, Svilha was able to visit with Tyrece and her former colleagues while they were in town for the tournament.

"Just being able to see them was so great Just to be in their presence and be able to talk through it," Svilha said. "I could feel the support from all of them."

A few months later, the man nicknamed "Boots" underwent a makeover.

"They sent a picture from the barber's shop and he was like 'I'm doing this.' I was like, 'what?'"

After some contemplation, Radford had decided to cut his dreadlocks to show solidarity with Svilha.

"I just want her to know that I'm with her for life no matter what because she did not have to do what she did," he explained. "It's her job, but it was much more than a job to her.... I love Alise."

"It's nice for people to see this side of him because he has a heart of gold. He is truly such a unique person. It's so hard to put into words what that meant to me," Alise said. 

"I mean, there are lonely times in this battle and then you look at that and it's like how can I not keep fighting? How can I give up when there are people out there that are willing to fight with you like that? You can't give up."

Svilha began her second round of chemotherapy earlier this week. She's scheduled to undergo surgeries after four months, barring any complications.

You can support Alise during her cancer fight by donating to her GoFundMe page: Fundraiser for Alise Svilha

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