A 5-year-old boy from Montana who was recently diagnosed with brain cancer was able to ride a “unicorn” before leaving his friends to start treatment.
According to Good Morning America, Zach Haas said his son, Wyatt Haas, had been feeling sick and having headaches before he was diagnosed with medulloblastoma on Nov. 15. Medulloblastoma is a rare brain cancer found in the cerebellum, the lower back part of the brain, that can easily spread throughout the brain and spinal cord. Treatment typically consists of surgery, radiation and chemotherapy, Mayo Clinic reports.
While medulloblastoma is rare — there are only 250 to 500 new cases in children each year — it is the most common malignant brain tumor in children.
The day after the heartbreaking discovery, Wyatt underwent an operation to remove a portion of the tumor.
“The last couple months he’s been in so much discomfort,” Haas told GMA. “He hasn’t been laughing, playing… having fun.”
“I think after the surgery he was being himself again,” he added.
Wyatt was then accepted to St. Jude’s Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, which meant he and his family would have to depart their home in Fallon, Montana, while he receives treatment.
But before the kindergartener said goodbye to his friends earlier this month, his community treated him to a special surprise.
Jennifer Nielsen, the mother of one of Wyatt’s classmates, heard how much the young boy loved unicorns, so she set up a “unicorn ride” for him by decorating one of the horses she owns.
Nielsen used washable animal chalk to turn the horse into a colorful unicorn, and surprised Wyatt at a local park where his classmates and teacher were waiting to send him off. She also recruited a pony — owned by a friend — to join in on the party.
“I don’t think he expected to see a unicorn at the park,” Haas recalled to GMA. “I think he just expected to see friends. He was super excited.”
“We moved into the most amazing community and we seriously could not be more grateful!” reads a post by his family on a Facebook page documenting Wyatt’s journey. “We’re going to miss home so much. So glad to have these pictures to look back on for Wyatt!”
Wyatt and his mother left to Memphis on Dec. 6.
A post to their Facebook page on Wednesday revealed Wyatt had a second brain surgery to remove more of the tumor.
“We are confident things will go good, and hopefully Wyatt won’t have the neurological issues he had with the last resection as they are just cleaning up what’s left,” the post read. “Keep him in your thoughts and prayers, and we will update after to let everyone know how things went!”
A GoFundMe has been set up for the family to help with medical expenses, and has so far raised more than $10,000.