A second-grader who spent two years growing out his hair so he could donate it to pediatric cancer patients is now facing his own cancer diagnosis.
He learned about cancer from his mom, who, at the time was volunteering to style cancer survivors’ hair for a local lymphoma foundation gala. He asked her what she was doing and she told him about cancer and how it causes people to sometimes lose their hair.
Vinny Desautels of Roseville, California, came home from school complaining about knee pain, his parents noticed a lump on his right hip. At the same time, his parents were monitoring Vinny’s swollen eye, which they initially attributed to seasonal allergies.
But after discovering the lump on their young son’s hip, they decided to go to the emergency room. An X-ray on April 28 revealed a large growth on Vinny’s hip, and he was sent to a hospital in Sacramento for further testing.
Blood tests, MRIs, and a CT scan revealed tumors on his hip and in the bone around his eye, CNN reports.
Vinny was diagnosed with an unknown form of metastatic cancer. His parents are awaiting final confirmation from doctors that he has Ewing’s sarcoma, a rare form of cancer that forms in bone or soft tissues.
“Basically, what they found is that he has a significant growth on his hip and in the bone around the eye and behind the nose and on the cheek on the right side,” Vinny’s dad, Jason Desautels, told Fox40 in Sacremento.
“It is Stage 4 aggressive cancer,” he added.
“Even though he was teased throughout the two years of growing his hair out, it didn’t deter him from his mission…to help a child in need,” Vinny’s grandparents wrote on a GoFundMe page for their grandson.
Vinny told Fox40 he was “happy” to donate 13 inches of his hair to help kids who lost they hair due to cancer treatments.
“I want to help people so they don’t have to go to the doctors to fight cancer,” he said. “And then everyone got excited when mom cut the ponytails off.”
Vinny’s parents remain optimistic about their son’s prognosis.
“As long as we are doing this as a family, we got this,” Vinny’s mother, Amanda Azevedo, told the outlet.