Class Act: Canton High student raises money to battle breast cancer

CANTON, MASS. (WHDH) - Canton High freshman Shawn Burns is all about giving back. He was the top fundraiser among his classmates, as his high school supported the American Cancer Society’s Making Strides Against Breast Cancer Walk in Boston last spring.

Burns was a driving force in the more than $10,000 raised at Canton High School.

“We had a lot of kids raising a lot of money it was fantastic, but this freshman Shawn Burns he earned the most, he actually raised over $1,200,” said Ed Amico, a guidance counselor at Canton High.

Shawn Burns said, “it makes me feel good that I’m helping someone.”

This is not the first time Burns has done something to fight cancer. His grandmother was diagnosed with breast cancer before he was born.

“I was pregnant with Sean, she was not expected to make it through a month,” Burns’ mother Christine Daly said. “She was stage four. Everybody would say, she lived for Sean.”

Sean’s grandmother Stephanie Burns hung on and battled the disease for seven more years, and Burns was right by her side.

“He was a big part of her life,” Daly said.

Burns said his grandmother passed away from breast cancer when he was around seven years old. “I’ve been raising awareness for breast cancer as much as I can,” Burns said.

As a top fund raiser, Burns earned a Dunkin Donuts gift card that he donated right away to another Canton High student who was in the hospital recovering from a spinal stroke.

“I thought it was the right thing to do,” Burns said. “My grandfather over the summer had a stroke…and I know how rough it is for the family.”

The freshman’s generous act was contagious.

“When other kids had heard what he had done, they also donated their gift cards,” Counselor Amico said. “That whole ripple effect, it was just fabulous.”

Friend Tommy Cunningham said of Burns, “I think that’s really cool that he did that.”

“If someone else needs help, he’ll help them,” said Joshua Mei, another friend of Burns.

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