By Seth Gonzales
The Texas Catholic
As she watched her sister Tricia Roos carry on through a difficult pregnancy, April Wade decided she had to do something to help.
So she did what many in this social media generation have done and turned to Facebook. In September 2014, she created a page originally intended to keep close friends and family in the loop about Roos and her baby, Annabelle, who had been diagnosed with Trisomy 18 in utero.
But what began as a small group online has since mushroomed offline into a legion of prayer warriors and supporters called “Annabelle’s Army,” including the entire student body at Bishop Lynch High School, where Roos works as its director of admissions and head coach of the varsity volleyball team.
“Coach Roos is a great example to the witness of life,” said junior Cole Clark. “To see her carry it out every day, she really goes against the culture of death that tells you to abort the baby.”
Clark was one of many students who helped pack the stands as Coach Roos’ team marched on to a TAPPS state championship during the 2014 season. On Jan. 17, wearing their newly printed “Annabelle’s Army” T-shirts, Clark and 200 Bishop Lynch students joined more than 5,000 people as they participated in the March for Life in downtown Dallas.
It was an emotional testament to the support Tricia, her husband Jonas and son Cameron received from the school community.
“Two-hundred teenagers getting out of bed early on a Saturday morning to come spend hours behind the pro-life cause; to me, that in itself speaks volumes about how much [Tricia’s pregnancy] affected them and made them want to do something about it,” said Jennifer Hardey, a third-year theology teacher at Bishop Lynch, who also serves as faculty moderator for the student pro-life club. “I think Tricia has been a really big example for the kids. It’s one thing to say you’re pro-life, it’s another thing to really show it when it really hurts you and affects you in such a personal manner.”
Online, the Annabelle’s Army Facebook page began to take off. In a matter of weeks, thousands of people around the country began to follow Wade’s updates. Today, the page stands at over 8,300 followers.
“Coach Roos has been a role model and I’ve always seen her as an incredibly strong woman,” said senior Sofia Schleppenbach, who has played volleyball for Roos at Bishop Lynch the last three years. “She’s one of the strongest women I know, but this has been a completely different strength that she showed us through this process. It’s a strength that’s standing up for what you believe and not worrying about what society thinks is the right thing to do.”