marine runs for breast cancerWhen you think of a breast cancer charity effort, we tend to think of a lot of pink ... and crowds of women standing together to show support for one another's battles with the disease. But men are a valiant, integral part of the fight, as well. Case in point: Sgt. Charles Gallagher, a systems administrator with the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and native of St. Cloud, Florida, participated in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure in Wilmington, North Carolina this past Saturday. He ran in support of his aunt, Kathleen Kennard, who is currently undergoing treatment for breast cancer. 

Sgt. Gallagher told Marines.com: "My aunt is near and dear to me. This race is my way of showing support for the fight she is fighting. And for women in general who are in the same fight.” Good for him!

Gallagher grew so close to his aunt after his dad passed away, and the Marine said, "She was always there for me." Standing by her while she battles breast cancer is one major way he's trying to give back to her. And his efforts haven't been limited to running the Komen race. He said:

Aside from running, I shaved my head when she started to lose her hair as a side effect of chemotherapy.

Plus, get this -- his Marines shaved their heads to show support, as well. BRAVO, guys!

Gallagher is also speaking out on what others can do:

Marines can always donate to the Susan G. Komen foundation and other charities that raise awareness. Marines can participate in runs, give blood, and if possible donate their hair to the Locks of Love foundation. It’s not just Marines though; people in general need to show their support. This is one of the biggest killers of women, and people need to be pro-active, not re-active.

Wow. This is just one amazing example of how people can really step up to the plate for their loved ones who find themselves heading down the scary road of battling cancer. It sounds like Gallagher is doing everything he can possible think of to support his aunt, because ultimately, he just wants her to know that he's there for her. That she's not in this alone. Sounds so simple, but what's incredible is that support like that can do so much more than raise money and awareness -- it can save lives.

How do you feel about Gallagher's story? Have you ever done something similar for a loved one -- or had it done for you?


Image via Lance Cpl. Caleb McDonald