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Soldiers shave their heads for the sister of their combat buddy who is fighting cancer


A member of the Minnesota National Guard found support from colleagues when he shaved his head in solidarity with his sister.

Staff Sgt.Brandon Stafford found out in late 2020 that his older sister Melissa had a malignant brain tumor that required major surgery and aggressive treatment.

“She’s a great person in the outdoors,” Stafford told Fox News. “She’s very involved in the crash prevention program for the state of Minnesota … she’s very active in these things.”

Sgt.Brandon Stafford (now Sergeant) poses for a picture with older sister Melissa Hjelle.

Sgt.Brandon Stafford (now Sergeant) poses for a picture with older sister Melissa Hjelle.

Melissa had her first surgery in early March. The doctors removed a large part of the tumor and she started chemotherapy shortly afterwards.

One morning her hair fell out in clumps and she decided to shave everything.

The daughter helps the WWII vet visit the beach one last time before he comes by

“She brushed her hair one morning and it came out in lumps,” explained Stafford. “So that night, most of my family video chat, we all shaved our heads.”

Brother Sean Stafford, his two sons, and Brandon all shaved their heads to ease the struggle Melissa went through with her treatment.

Soldiers from the 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, shaved their heads and posed for a photo in North Fort Hood, Texas before being dispatched to the Middle East with Task Force Phoenix.  They shaved their heads in support of Staff Sgt. Brandon Stafford's sister, who underwent chemotherapy and radiation after a brain tumor had been removed.  (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Luke Legrand)

Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 171st General Support Aviation Battalion, shaved their heads and posed for a photo in North Fort Hood, Texas before being dispatched to the Middle East with Task Force Phoenix. They shaved their heads in support of Staff Sgt. Brandon Stafford’s sister, who underwent chemotherapy and radiation after a brain tumor had been removed. (U.S. Army National Guard photo by 1st Lt. Luke Legrand)

The next day in North Fort Hood, Texas, Stafford’s colleagues asked him about the shaved head.

“Everyone just wanted to join in to show their support,” Stafford told Fox News. “We’ve had a few that went through it, but overall it’s mostly within the unit.”

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Around 15 other soldiers shaved their heads in solidarity with Stafford and his family.

Now stationed in Kuwait, Stafford plans to keep shaving his head while his sister continues her treatment. She’ll likely keep going through the end of this year, but Stafford has no plans to deviate from his new hairstyle.

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He also believes he can circumcise his nephews too.

“I don’t think that’s going to be too big a problem,” said Stafford.

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