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Camp Pendleton Marines Shave Heads To Support Teen With Cancer

Photo credit: USMC

Staff Sgt. Juan Garcia visits his 16-year old cousin, Diego Romero, at UCSF Children’s Hospital on April 19, 2014.

California teenager Diego Romero is more like a son than a cousin to Staff Sgt. Juan Garcia, a platoon sergeant at Camp Pendleton. Romero explained to 1st Marine Logistics Group:

“I helped shower him, feed him, stuff like that, when he was just a couple years old. He isn’t just a cousin to me. It’s like a father-son relationship. He is special.”

So when Diego was diagnosed with leukemia and lost his hair during treatment, Garcia shaved his head as a show of support.

Photo credit: USMC

Marines with 2nd Platoon, General Support Motor Transport Company, Combat Logistics Regiment 1,1st Marine Logistics Group on May 5, 2014.

And then 19 other Marines in Garcia's platoon - some of whom had loved ones who'd battled cancer - shaved their heads to let Diego know that they, too, had his back.

According to Lance Cpl. Rocco Carrino:

“I told him (Garcia) I would go ahead and shave my head too. My mother had a struggle with breast cancer about a year ago, so I know kind of how he feels. It was like a chain reaction. Everyone started volunteering to shave their heads.”

Romero was blown away by the level of solidarity and generosity displayed by his Marines:

“That my Marines came up with this idea, and are willing to do this for my little cousin who they have never met, is truly amazing. It’s the best feeling.”

While Diego is focused on his treatment at the University of California, San Francisco Children's Hospital, he still has the concerns of most teenagers. Romero said Diego was embarrassed at the thought of going to prom without hair:

“I just told him chicks dig bald guys. Shaving our heads will help show him that being bald isn’t a bad thing.”

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