Teacher raises more than $300,000 in support of childhood cancer research

In 2014, Mary Sue Anders’ life was forever changed by her third-grade student, Michael Orbany. Michael was diagnosed in 2010 with medulloblastoma, a cancerous brain tumor; in 2012 his cancer returned and had metastasized to his spine.

Inspired by his attitude of unwavering faith and spirit of never giving up, Anders made a decision. In February 2014, she sponsored a St. Baldrick’s Foundation head shaving event she called “Brave the Buzz.” This first event rallied the student body of St. Bernadette School in support of their classmate. In all, 136 students shaved their heads and together they raised over $64,000 for the St. Baldrick’s Foundation, the largest non-government funder of childhood cancer research grants.

Michael passed away in May 2014, just a few weeks after the event. Following his lead, Anders has never given up. Now in its sixth iteration, Brave the Buzz has raised more than $300,000 to help fund childhood cancer research. Each time the event is held, Michael is honored and his legacy lives on. 

Brave the Buzz brings the greater school community together to show solidarity with kids fighting cancer. There are speakers, music and entertainment. Students learn that small acts – such as shaving their head or donating their hair – can have a powerful impact on others. It can be an emotional event for participants, but it’s also a celebration of and a tribute to everyday heroes. 

In honor of Michael and all of the heroes who continue to battle childhood cancers, Mary Sue Anders and the students of St. Bernadette School are again standing up against childhood cancers. The school intends to raise $70,000 with their event on Friday, March 15. To learn more about the event and to donate, visit stbaldricks.org/events/mypage/11143/2024 or call the school at 440-734-7717.

Lauren DeFazio

I am a life-long Cleveland Westsider with 5 school-aged kids.

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Volume 16, Issue 3, Posted 9:25 AM, 03.05.2024