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Boyfriend Riley Nicolay's heartwarming tribute to cancer-stricken high school sweetheart as he shaves his head
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By Meghan Keneally
PUBLISHED: 02:09 EST, 13 February 2013 | UPDATED: 03:43 EST, 13 February 2013
A supportive boyfriend shaved his head in solidarity with his girlfriend whose hair began to fall out because of chemotherapy.
Not only did Riley Nicolay get rid of his hair alongside his high school sweetheart Deidre Sechi but he also fulfilled her wish to become famous.
After being diagnosed with a rare form of a sarcoma with a baseball-sized tumor in her stomach, 18-year-old Deidre joked that she would put a positive spin on her diagnosis by gaining attention by possibly appearing on the Ellen DeGeneres show or writing a popular blog about her health battle.
In honor: Riley Nicolay decided to shave his head alongside his girlfriend Deidre Sechi when her hair began to fall out because of chemotherapy treatments
Young love: The pair- both 18-years-old- are high school sweethearts and have been dating for three years
Instead, Riley turned an emotional picture of the two of them into an internet sensation.
Riley, who is also 18-years-old and a freshman at Iowa State University, told ABC News that when his girlfriend's hair began to fall out due to chemotherapy, they both decided to shave off their hair completely.
In keeping with their light-hearted attitudes, they took the drastic step in a relaxed fashion, trying out various hairstyles along the way.
'The mullet was a bit much but with the buzz cut, she looked really good,' he said of Deidre.
Extended support: Deidre posted a picture of she and Riley with their respective fathers, along with the caption 'father-child bald bonding' showing that the two dads also shaved their heads in solidarity
The hair loss came after Deidre's first full round of chemotherapy to treat the desmoplastic small round cell tumor.
They took pictures of the entire grooming process, but the one that is garnering the most attention is the final product.
Riley posted a picture of the two of them, who have been dating for three years, looking into one another's eyes after completely shaving their heads.
Since he put it on Reddit early Tuesday, it had accrued more than one million views in 15 hours.
Together while apart: Deidre had to drop out of school to deal with her health, but Riley still a freshman at Iowa State University
Supportive: Riley posted the photo- which earned more than a million views in 15 hours- would possibly make Deidre famous
He was in class when he learned that it was becoming a popular picture after his friends started texting him when they began seeing it appear on other sites.
Deidre, who had to drop out of school for the semester because of the diagnosis, will now wait until later this month to know if the radiation is helping to shrink the tumor.
'This made it fun so it's not as scary or sad,' Riley said of his girlfriend's newfound internet fame.
'She's such a happy person that she's been doing well.'