Vinny Desautels learned what cancer was from his mother, Amanda Azevedo, a hairstylist who volunteers at a Roseville, California, lymphoma foundation, fixing the hair of cancer survivors for an annual benefit.
Azevedo's 7-year-old son was curious about her volunteer work. She explained that cancer treatments frequently cause people to lose their hair, and, she told the Washington Post, he asked if he could help.
For two years, Desautels grew his locks to 13 inches to donate the hair to Wigs for Kids. Then in an unexpected turn of events, the little boy fell ill himself.
The day he got his hair lopped off, according to the Post, he started to complain about a stinging in his eye that didn't go away, and later a pain in his leg. A trip to the emergency room that revealed tumors in the bones of his eye and hip. The diagnosis was a stage 4 cancer his doctors believe is Ewing’s sarcoma, which usually affects bones and soft tissue.
"We know it's cancer, stage 4, because it spread in two different locations, and it's aggressive," the boy's father, Jason Desautels, told CNN. "Now we're trying to figure out what we're dealing with so we can come up with a plan."
The Desautels family has launched a GoFundMe campaign to help with the medical costs. Vinny’s mom is six months pregnant with the couple’s third child.
Jason is a U.S. Army veteran who served in the infantry in Iraq. He fought at the second Battle of Fallujah, but, he told the Washington Post, “None of that prepares you for this.”
Vinny was scheduled to begin chemotherapy treatment on Tuesday.