7-Year-Old’s Sprained Knee Turns Out to Be Osteosarcoma; Devoted Dad Shaves Head After Son Loses His Hair

Published Sep 22, 2021

Chris Spargo

Dad To the Rescue

  • Rayshawn Mims posted a video of himself getting to work as he chopped his lengthy tresses and then finished off the look with a buzz cut, all as his son, Akheem, looked on.
  • Akheem’s mother, Shannae Mims, says that the 7-year-old was diagnosed with osteosarcoma after getting an x-ray for a sprained knee.
  • The word sarcoma refers to a large array of bone and soft tissue cancers, and individual cancers within that set go by unique names. Osteogenic sarcoma, also called osteosarcoma, starts in the bone, often as it is forming as a young person grows.

A devoted dad with some impressively long dreadlocks shaved his head to support his son as the young boy battled osteosarcoma.

Rayshawn Mims posted a video of himself getting to work as he chopped his lengthy tresses and then finished off the look with a buzz cut, all as his son Akheem looked on in disbelief.

Akheem had recently lost his hair after starting chemotherapy in his battle with the disease.

The boy’s mother, Shannae Mims, revealed over the weekend that her 7-year-old son had been diagnosed with the bone cancer after they took him to the hospital for an x-ray.

She assumed it was just a sprained knee at the time, but then the family got the bad news.

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Shannae also spoke about the many challenges the family is now facing due to both the costs and logistics of Akheem’s cancer care.

“I took an extended leave of absence [from work]. Due to his immune system being compromised from chemotherapy I am unable to work as I run the risk of possibly infecting him with Covid,” she wrote on a Go Fund Me page.

“I have four other children [at] home [that] I have to send with family when I’m in Pittsburgh [where Akheem is being treated], have to make sure they are transported to and from school, plus gas money there and back to Pittsburgh.”

The family had been hoping to make $5,000 but in four days has already managed to raise of $20,000 from friends and good Samaritans.

On Tuesday, Rayshawn shared his gratitude for all those donations.

“Woooow! God is Good!! We would like to take this time to thank EVERYONE for your EXTREME Generosity, Love, Support, Prayers, Advice, and Most of all you who shared your touching testimonies with us!!!!” he wrote on Facebook.

“I have honestly Read thousands of comments and messages in these last few days and been brought to tears many times over. You are all Amazing and have shined a beautiful light on a dark situation and for that we say Thank You!!!”

Related: California High School Student Sinks Game-Winning Shot After Nearly Losing Leg In Cancer Battle; What You Should Know About Osteosarcoma

What are Sarcomas?

If you get a diagnosis of a common cancer — such as breast cancer — you might already have some sense of what that means. But what if you learn you have a sarcoma cancer? These are much more rare, and less likely to be discussed in casual office visits or among friends. In fact, this rare and diverse group of diseases accounts for only about one percent of adult tumors and just over 10 percent of tumors in children.

Sarcoma is the general term describing an array of cancers — more than 70 — that begin in the bones and in the soft tissues (that includes muscles, fat, blood vessels, tendons, nerves, and joint linings). Osteogenic sarcoma, also called osteosarcoma, starts in the bone, often as it is forming as a young person grows.

“Sarcomas are rare and the cause in most patients is unknown,” Dr. Vishal Gupta, site director of Radiation Oncology at The Blavatnik Family — Chelsea Medical Center at Mount Sinai, previously told SurvivorNet.

 

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Sarcoma Symptoms

The typical symptom of sarcomas is a slow-growing, painless mass. But sarcoma can be hard to detect through symptoms. “Unfortunately, most sarcomas do not cause many of the symptoms that may be associated with other cancer,” Dr. Dale Shepard, director of the Cleveland Clinic Taussig Cancer Institute Phase I and Sarcoma Programs, previously explained to SurvivorNet.

Shepard went on to say that this often leads to large tumors at the time of diagnosis. “Soft tissue sarcomas are typically painless,” he says. “Bone sarcomas may be mistaken for orthopedic injuries. A mass the size of a golf ball or larger and growing should be evaluated as a potential sarcoma. It’s important that patients who do have symptoms are not dismissive of them.”

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Chris Spargo is a senior reporter at SurvivorNet. Read More