A seven-year-old boy who spent two years growing out his hair to donate to cancer patients has been diagnosed with an aggressive form of the disease himself.
Vinny Desautels, of Roseville, California, was happy to grow his blond hair to 13 inches to help someone battling cancer – despite being teased by other children. But in cruel twist of fate, shortly after completing his mission and chopping off his long ponytail, Vinny and his family found out that he had stage 4 cancer.
Doctors are still trying to figure out the kind of cancer Vinny has after they discovered growths around his hip, in the bone around his eye and on his right cheek, his father Jason told Fox40.
Vinny came home from school recently complaining of knee pain and his parents later found a lump on his right hip.
They took him to the emergency room, where doctors identified a growth on his pelvic bone.
Shortly afterwards, the youngster had an appointment to check out his swollen eye that had initially been attributed to allergies, but had steadily gotten worse.
Vinny's parents became concerned that the two things may be linked – and doctors agreed. Doctors also identified a malignant growth on his eye.
Meanwhile, despite his young age, Vinny is trying to understand his diagnosis too – and the selfless youngster is glad that have helped others facing the battle he now faces.
'I want to help people, so they don't have to go to the doctors to fight cancer,' Vinny told the news station.
His father Jason added: 'During that time, he was mistaken for a girl many times, but Vinny took it like a champ and was like, 'Nah, I'm a boy'.'
Vinny mother Amanda cut off his hair in March, writing on Facebook at the time: 'I am so proud to call this little man my son.
'He has been growing out his hair for the past two years and I had the privilege of being the one to cut it for him.
'He's been teased and mistaken for a girl several times, but he stuck with it because he knew it was for a good cause.'
Now, Vinny and his parents Jason, a combat veteran, and Amanda, who is expecting a baby soon, are facing many tests and lengthy hospital stays in their future.
Vinny's grandparents Sue and Ron Desautels set up a GoFundMe page to raise money to help the family with medical expenses and everyday costs during this time.
In a post on the page, they described their grandson as 'tender-hearted' and 'loving.'
'Our precious grandson, Vinny Desautels, is fighting a battle that no child should have to fight - the fight against cancer,' they wrote.
'He recently donated his hair to 'wigs for kids with cancer'. Even though he was teased throughout the 2 years of growing his hair out, it didn't deter him from his mission… to help a child in need.'
They added: 'There are many more tests ahead and they're in the hospital for an undetermined amount of time.
'Over the next days, weeks, and months ahead they will need to be at countless doctor appointments, hospital stays and surgeries.
'As you can imagine the normal costs of everyday living… such as rent, food, gas, car, etc… the medical costs can be astronomical.
'This will enable Vinny's parents be able to concentrate on Vinny getting well and fighting this wicked disease called cancer.'
In a post on Facebook, Sue Desautels said: 'We were heartbroken to get this diagnosis. With that said, I would like to humbly thank everyone for their kind words of encouragement.'
She added: 'We are a close family, and we are fighting this together.'