12-Year-Old Discovers Brain Tumor After Shaving Head for Cancer Awareness

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 (Facebook/Park Ridge Newcomers’ Club)

A 12-year-old boy in Illinois made a devastating discovery after shaving his head to raise awareness for cancer last year: He had cancer himself.

According to People, 12-year-old Benny Martinez shaved his head last year to raise money and awareness for pediatric cancer research as part of a fundraiser at his school. He was one of the first in line to have his head shaved. Just two weeks later he was at Disney World with his parents when he started suffering from headaches and nausea so severe he had to be taken to the emergency room.

Doctors at the hospital in Florida found a walnut-sized brain tumor on the back of his brain, and it was severe enough that it required immediate surgery. The surgery was terrible, it lasted seven hours and a side effect of the operation left him unable to talk, walk, or swallow, and after that the news got even worse, because it turned out to be cancerous.

Poor Benny thought the doctors were joking when they told him he had cancer. He knew about pediatric cancer, because he’d just participated in the fundraiser. He was worried about those kids, but never thought it would hit so close to home.

Benny has since had several fundraisers held in his honor, and rather than use the money for his own expenses, Benny asked if the money could go to the St. Baldrick’s Foundation to fund more pediatric cancer research. It’s a wonderful move, especially considering that pediatric cancers receive only four percent of government funding for cancer research, and almost no funding from drug companies.

“I want to do whatever I can to help kids going through the same thing that I am,” Benny said to People Magazine. “I know it’s hard, and I’d like to tell them not to give up any time soon. I’m not giving up. I want to walk again.”

Benny is only halfway through chemotherapy, but he’s already talking about shaving his head again to help raise awareness for pediatric cancer when his hair grows back.

“If it helps someone, sure I’d have my head shaved again,” he said to People. “Losing your hair to help find a cure is worth it. I really like giving back.”

Pediatric cancer is shit. Donations can be made to St. Baldrick’s Foundation for childhood cancer research here.