Ole Miss grants leukemia survivor's wish to be Rebels cheerleader for a game
Rowan Neff, a 4-year-old leukemia survivor, wanted to be an Ole Miss cheerleader. And last Saturday, she got to be just that.
As part of the Ole Miss Wish program, Neff was the honorary cheer captain for the Rebels’ home game against New Mexico State last Saturday. Not only that, but she and her family got a campus tour and lunch, attended a cheerleading practice, joined the football team on the Walk of Champions on gameday and met Rebels head coach Matt Luke before the game.
Neff’s father, Chris, graduated from Ole Miss in 2007, before going on to join the Mississippi Army National Guard. He was on active duty while Rowan was being treated for leukemia.
“I get to work with families who’ve experienced incredible things, from deployments and military service to facing a life-threatening illness,” assistant director of veterans and military services Andrew Newby said, according to Ole Miss’ Michael Newsom. “Helping these families to feel a sense of belonging in the Ole Miss family is wonderful, and it is my pleasure to make a child feel seen and feel important.
“Rowan is such an amazing girl, and I’m so happy to play a part in her celebration of defeating cancer.”
Wish Granted: Leukemia Survivor Becomes a Cheerleader
— Ole Miss (@OleMissRebels) November 15, 2019
Rowan was diagnosed with leukemia in February 2017. After living in Memphis for three months to be close to St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, she underwent more than 100 treatments before being declared free of leukemia on Sept. 3 of this year.
“She never let it get her down,” said Naomi Neff, Rowan’s mother, per Newsom. “Once she realized she had to do it, she’s just stayed very strong. She isn’t scared of very much.”