When Vinny Desautels was only 5 years old, he decided that he wanted to grow out his hair — he wanted it long enough so that he could donate it to a charity (Wigs For Kids) that makes wigs for child cancer patients. Though he endured teasing and was often mistaken for a girl, Vinny worked toward his goal for two years before his locks met the requirement for donation. Now, after dedicating a huge portion of his short life to helping kids with cancer,Vinny has received a devastating diagnosis: aggressive, stage-four cancer in his hipbones and eye.
The second grader’s symptoms and diagnosis all happened very quickly, report his grandparents on a GoFundMe page dedicated to raising money for Vinny’s treatment.
“On Thursday Vinny came home from school complaining about knee pain. When getting ready to take a shower his parents noticed a significant lump on his right hip and brought him to the emergency room. A large growth was identified on his Iliac bone.
The next day Friday Vinny had an eye doctors appointment for a swollen eye that has been getting progressively worse over the course of a month (originally thought to be allergies). They told Dr. Martel about the previous evening and how he needed to go back to the doctors about the hip, and were concerned the two might be related.”
Vinny, who is being treated at Sutter hospital in Sacramento, CA, has maintained a positive attitude throughout the process. Updates from his parents and grandparents on the GoFundMe page report that he’s kept a smile on his face despite painful biopsies, confusing testing, bone marrow extractions, the start of chemotherapy treatments, and what they call the “Gremlin rule” (no eating or drinking after midnight).
Vinny’s sweet attitude and love for others is what led him to donate his hair to those in need, but now he’s the one who needs a helping hand. His mother, who is six months pregnant, and father have put life on hold to support Vinny during his treatments — which is why Vinny’s grandparents have asked the internet for help raising money. At the time of writing, their GoFundMe campaign had gathered over $280K of the ultimate $500K goal; it seems that the world wants to help Vinny, just like he strives to help others.
To donate to Vinny’s treatment fund, leave him words of support, and read updates about his condition, visit the family’s page.