For the Marines at Camp Pendleton, California, the sound of the buzzers means they are about to get another Sunday-cut before the work week. However, what they heard on May 5, 2014 was for special cause.
On that day, nineteen marines shaved their hair off to show their support for Staff Sgt. Juan Garcia’s cousin, Diego Romero, who is diagnosed of cancer at the University of California San Francisco Children’s Hospital.
According to Lance Cpl. Rocco Carrino, “He sent out a mass text just letting us all know that he shaved his head, and he would be holding a fundraiser for his little cousin who has leukemia. I told him 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.”
When Romero’s parents got divorced, it was Garcia who helped raise him. He explained, “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.”
Before Romero received cancer treatments, he was in the Junior Reserve Officer Training Corps because he wants to be a marine like his cousin. As for Garcia, it is so painful to see him lying in bed with tubes all over him.
When the sergeant needed help, his platoon didn’t disappoint him. They all came together to give him, as well as his cousin, the support they need.
“In the Marine Corps, if you have a brother that is struggling, you have to go back and help pick him up and struggle with him,” explained a Boston native.
Despite all the hardships, Garcia and his Marines continue to support Romero in his battle against cancer.