Missouri first-grader shaves head to show support for friend battling cancer

UNION, Mo. - A Missouri first-grader shaved his head to show a bond with a classmate who's battling cancer.

First-graders Vincent Butterfield and Zac Gossage are good friends. But last June, Zac was diagnosed with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. That cancer affects 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," Gossage's mother, Stacey Tooley, said. "And I couldn't."

Despite frequent trips to the hospital, Gossage almost never missed a day of school.

"Because I get to play with Vincent outside at recess," he explained.

Vincent Butterfield started asking questions and learned about cancer.

"It's when your white blood cells and your red blood cells fight," he said.

Butterfield learned the treatments were expensive.

"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," Butterfield said.

He sold more than 20 scares, to raise more than $200. The money went to Gossage.

Butterfield also learned that Gossage might lose his hair because of chemotherapy treatments. One day he showed up to class wearing a stocking cap.

The teacher, Mrs. Koester, explained what happened.

"He said, 'Mrs. Koester, I have a surprise for Zac.'"

Butterfield pulled off his stocking cap to reveal his shaved head.

"I cut it off," he explained.

When asked why, Butterfield added, "To make Zac feel like he's not the only one without any hair."

Gossage continues to get treatments and go to school every day.


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