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Student Asks ESF to 'Be Bold,' Fight Cancer

Freshman Mike Shay speaks out for national campaign

Mike Shay

ESF freshman Mike Shay has something on his mind in addition to the typical first-year concerns about midterms and adjusting to college life: he is leading an effort to raise both awareness about cancer and money to fight the disease.

This fall, Shay is introducing the national Be Bold, Be Bald! campaign to ESF. Be Bold, Be Bald! encourages participants to purchase bald caps and related clothing from a not-for-profit organization and wear them Nov 2. Proceeds from the event are used to benefit an assortment of organizations that fight cancer or support people with the disease.

Shay, a natural resources management major from Guilford, Conn., has seen cancer up close. His twin sister was diagnosed with leukemia when they were in fourth grade. Shay's sister has been in remission for six years but her experience had a lasting effect on him. He participates in Relay for Life, a national fundraising effort, and has volunteered at summer camps that serve children with cancer.

"I'm always looking for things to get involved in, things that are worth putting a little extra effort into to help others," he said.

When Shay heard about the Be Bold, Be Bald campaign recently, he immediately asked his Centennial Hall floormates if they wanted to participate with him. Several students have pledged to get involved and Shay spoke at the October Faculty Governance meeting to ask members of the faculty and staff to support the effort.

"Bringing campaigns like this to a college setting offers students who are preoccupied with schoolwork a chance to become involved in something that benefits the larger community, and students are always really excited to be able to participate and give back," he said.

Shay plans to continue working with this campaign next year to make it bigger at ESF. "It doesn't matter what you do, but getting involved in anything is the first small step in making a big change," he said.

Information about participating in the event is available at the Be Bold, Be Bald! website.

- By Brianna Reed ES '13