Once the cancer caused 6-year-old Zac to lose his hair, the little boy cried because he didn't want to go to school. Seven-year-old Butterfield then did something very selfless to help his friend feel a little less self-conscious: He decided to shave his own hair as well.
Vincent said that he "cut it off to make Zac feel like he's not the only one without any hair." According to the boys' teacher, Mrs. Koester, one day Vincent showed up to his first-grade class at Central Elementary School wearing a stocking cap.
Koester recalled Vincent saying, "I have a surprise for Zac."
He then removed the stocking cap to reveal his newly shaved head to his friend and schoolmates.
"Vincent is like that," said Karen Butterfield, Vincent's mother. "He's a compassionate little boy. When he sets his mind to [do something], he does it.
This would also explain why the first grader decided that he wanted to do more for his cancer-stricken schoolmate and best friend than cut his hair. What Vincent came to understand about the cancer affecting Zac was that fighting the illness cost a great deal of money.
Butterfield asked his mother if they could sell scarves to help raise money for Gossage's treatments. The first grader sold 20 scarves on his own, managing to raise a couple of hundred dollars.
"I sold them so the doctors can fix him."
The gestures have certainly been appreciated by his best friend, Zac Gossage, with whom Vincent has been close since the two met in kindergarten. There's little doubt that the unconditional love and support shown by Butterfield has been a source of encouragement to his friend Gossage, who is an inspiration in his own right.
The first grader may still have to content with frequent hospital visits, but he has somehow managed to attend school almost regularly.
The two boys maintain their close connection, often laughing and playing and simply being kids. There are chicken-crossed-the-road jokes and rough housing. However, beneath that is a friendship and lesson from which many adults can learn.
When a reporter asked Vincent Butterfield what he thought friendship was, the first grader thought for a moment and then answered, "A beautiful thing."
The friendship between Zac Gossage and Vincent Butterfield is certainly a testament to that.
[Image Credit: WTNH News 8]