Spangdahlem 'Goes Bald for Brayden'
By Staff Sgt. Chad Warren, 52nd Fighter Wing Public Affairs
/ Published April 23, 2014
SPANGDAHLEM AIR BASE, Germany --
Members of Saber Nation will shave their heads April 25 in a show of support for a young boy diagnosed with kidney cancer.
Spangdahlem joins several other bases around the globe by going bald to support Brayden Mitchell, a 5-year-old boy from Ohio recently diagnosed with stage-3 Wilms tumor, a form of kidney cancer.
Second Lt. Dave Mitchell, Brayden's father and Ohio Air National Guard pilot, died in an F-16 Fighting Falcon fighter aircraft training accident near Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., in 2008 just before Brayden's birth.
Staff Sgt. Brandyn Pilon, a 52nd Logistics Readiness Squadron vehicle management and analysis technician from South Jordan, Utah, heard about a "Go Bald for Brayden" event at Minot Air Force Base, N.D., and decided to give Spangdahlem Airmen an opportunity to show their support as well.
"I was stationed at Luke [Air Force Base] at the time of the crash, and I attended the memorial, so it really hit home," Pilon said.
Brayden's illness presented another hardship for the family, and Pilon said he wanted to do what he could to help, and the support at Spangdahlem has been overwhelming. In addition to supporters shaving their heads, event organizers will also accept donations for the Mitchell family.
Tech. Sgt. Jason Belanger, 480th Aircraft Maintenance Unit end of runway superintendent from Waynesville, Mo., said he has personal experience with the situation the Mitchell family is going through and wanted to support any way he could.
"I felt the need to get involved because my family has been affected by cancer, and it was not an easy process for them to go through," Belanger said.
A number of military bases have held events showing their support for the Mitchell family, including U.S. and NATO installations overseas.
"It's very important for military members to be involved," Belanger said. "It shows the compassion and support our military members have for our extended family."
Any individuals who wish to make a donation or simply show their support may attend the "Go Bald for Brayden" event at the Skelton Memorial Fitness Center, April 25 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Military males and civilians are invited to shave their heads during the event. If you would like to volunteer to cut hair, please contact Pilon at 452-7444.