Nightly News   |  July 24, 2013

George H.W. Bush as we’ve never seen him before

The 41st president shaved his head in solidarity with a two-year-old cancer patient who lost his hair while undergoing treatment for leukemia. NBC’s Brian Williams reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> we came across a photo today that is almost shocking to look at first. taken at ken bunk port maine at the summer home of george h.w. bush 41. in fact it shows the former president the way he have never seen him before. it is a striking image. it doesn't look at all like the 41 we have come to know. then you see the reason for the former president's new look. the 2-year-old named patrick sitting in his lap. patrick is the son of one of president bush 's secret service agents. he has lost his hair during chemo, while undergoing treatment for leukemia. so the former president and most of his security detail did the only thing that made sense to them. they shaved their heads and became the largest hairless solidarity flash mob in the entire state of maine . for the former president, this is more personal than it may look. there is a history here for the bushs. george and barbara lost their second child to leukemia. their daughter robin was just 4 years old when she died. they of course have never gotten over it. that much was evident during an emotional interview, jenna bush conducted with her grandfather a year ago.

>> there is people in heaven that you want to see?

>> definitely.

>> who would you want to see first?

>> my mom. and my father. and maybe robin our little girl that died.

>> just days ago former president bush enjoyed a warm, gracious day at the white house as the obamas hosted the bushs to pay tribute to his points of light foundation . he has been in a wheelchair, and scooter to his great frustration ever since his legs gave out a few years back. late last year he had a health scare, serious enough to gather family members around his hospital bed. but for this world war ii veteran and former president who went skydiving the day he turned 85 it's his disposition that has always broken through and powered him on. patrick 's family says he faces a long road but his prognosis is positive especially if you believe in the healing power of having a good friend. former president, making news today in his own way.