More than 400 Air Force airmen on three continents have shaved their heads in support of a 5-year-old boy fighting cancer and whose pilot father died in a training mission in 2008 just before the boy was born.
The bald fraternity started in February with 90 airmen deployed to Shindand Air Base, in Afghanistan, shaving their heads in support of Brayden Mitchell, who was diagnosed in January with Stage 3 Wilms tumor, a form of kidney cancer,according to the Minot Air Force Base website.
Brayden watched over video chat in February from Ohio as 90 airmen went bald in his honor.
Now, the kindhearted gesture has spread to US Air Forces bases in Italy, Florida, Arizona and North Dakota.
“It’s just an easy thing that we can do to support him,” Capt. Michael DeVita, 23rd Bomb Squadron B-52 instructor pilot, said, according to a statement. “I was more than willing to do it, and pretty much all the guys in our squadron were, too. I’m hoping we can pay it forward and have other people I went to pilot training with that fly other airplanes all do this.”
Brayden began losing his hair after chemotherapy treatments, and his spirit was crushed. Drawing on his love of planes, Brayden’s mother, Kristi, reached out to DeVita, a good friend of Brayden’s father, who died when he did not eject in time and crashed with his jet.