CANTON, MA (WHDH) - For Canton teenager Shawn Burns, helping to find a cure for breast cancer is as personal as it gets.
Shawn was just seven years old when he lost his beloved grandmother, Stephanie Burns, to the disease.
“She was always in bed, so I’d go play with her with my toys,” Shawn remembers. “Her favorite animal was a duck so we played with toy ducks a lot.”
“My mom was diagnosed while I was pregnant with [Shawn],” said his mother, Christine Daly. “She was not expected to make it very long. She made it seven and a half years and it was [Shawn] every day.”
The scourge of breast cancer didn’t stop there for Shawn and his family. Three years ago, his step grandmother was also diagnosed with breast cancer, though thankfully she is now in remission. Now Shawn is a man with a purpose.
“I just don’t want other families to go through what my family did,” said the Canton High School sophomore. “I want there to be more survivors. I want to find a cure too.”
Last year, Shawn raised more than $1,300 for the Making Strides walk. His Canton High team raised more than $10,000. So far this year, he has surpassed $4,000 with four days left until the walk.
Shawn is raising money by enlisting classmates and local businesses.
Earlier this month, he held a fundraiser auction to raise money for the American Cancer Society. He also got local police and fire departments to buy pins and shirts he designed.
“You’ve got grown men out there that sometimes struggle to do the right thing and then you have a 15-year-old kid who just gets it,” said Shawn’s father and Norwood firefighter, Paul Ronco.
Shawn’s mother says his grandma would be proud of all his efforts.
“The best of her is through him,” said Daly. “All her good qualities shine through him.”
Shawn says his passion to help fund breast cancer research is long-term and he has no plans of slowing down.
“Never,” he says of when he would stop his efforts. “Or until there’s a cure.”
For more information on Boston’s Making Strides walk, click here.
Anyone looking for more information about Shawn and his team, as well as how to donate, can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Copyright (c) 2017 Sunbeam Television. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)