First grader shaves head for classmate in cancer battle
It's inspiring to see adults who shave their heads in support of friends who are fighting for their life but when a first-grader does it for a classmate, you may need a tissue or two.
Vincent Butterfield and Zac Gossage are first graders at Central Elementary in Union, Missouri. They're also best friends who enjoy a joke or two:
Q: Why does the chicken cross the playground?
A: To get to the other slide!
But last June, Zac was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia, a fast growing cancer of the white blood cells.
"As a parent, you want to make sure nothing bad ever happens to your child and when something does you want to be able to fix it," Zac's mom Stacy Tooley said. "And I couldn't."
While everybody surrounding the first grader took it hard, Zac took it in stride. Despite frequent trips to the hospital, he almost never missed school. His reason? His buddy Vincent.
"I get to play with Vincent outside at recess," Zac said.
Vincent started asking questions and learning about his brave friend's battle. When he learned his treatments were expensive, he stepped up to do something and pitch in. Karen Butterfield, Vincent's mom, said he started with scarves.
"We had been making these scarves and he just kind of said it would be cool if we could make a whole bunch of these and sell them," Karen said.
He sold more than 20, earning a couple hundred dollars and he gave it all to Zac. But when he found out he'd lose his hair because of chemotherapy, he did the only thing he could think of to help him fit in: he showed up to Mrs. Koester's first grade class in a stocking cap.
Koester recalls the conversation when he walked in with the hat on:
"And he said, 'Mrs. Koester I have a surprise for Zac.' And I said, 'Well, you do, yes I do.' And he pulls off his stocking cap and here I see that he shaved his head."
Vincent says he cut off his hair to make Zac feel like he's not the only one without hair.
While Vincent's hair has grown back, Zac's is still gone and his treatments are ongoing. However, he still comes in to school every day.
Vincent calls the friendship a 'beautiful thing'.