Two Western New York teachers intertwined in push to raise money for cancer research

Posted at 6:37 PM, May 16, 2018
and last updated 2018-05-16 18:37:59-04

Brain cancer awareness month, which is recognized every May, serves as a reminder to some about loved ones who lost their battle or of those who are still fighting today.

At Lake Shore High School in Angola, two teachers have spent almost two decades raising money for cancer research. Something that now means a whole lot more to Michael Desing.

"I was happy to do it," said Desing, an English teacher at the school, of his decision 17 years ago to shave his head. "Not really realizing the gravity of what the movement would become. The gravity of what it meant to people or would ultimately mean to me."

Desing's colleague Anthony George had just started a movement that would be called Bald for Bucks. George's sister Cathy was fighting cancer, so the social studies teacher decided he would shave his head as a symbol of support.

That was in 2002. Dozens of students and a handful of teachers shaved their heads, too, that year. One of them was Desing.

In 2014, Desing was diagnosed with an esthesioneuroblastoma, a form of brain cancer.

"I didn't realize it until I was going through it how isolating it can be," he explained. "The vast majority of the time you're at home by yourself and you have a lot of time to sit and think, which can be a terrible thing if you feel like you're really alone. But, I was reminded constantly that I wasn't."

Desing was able to return to teaching after missing about a year for treatments and recovery.

George's charity Bald for Bucks raises money for Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center. It's now grown too big for him to handle on his own, so Roswell Park helps organize things every year. Since its founding, more than $5 million has been raised for the organization.

George's sister Cathy lost her fight with brain cancer in 2004.

To learn more about Bald for Bucks, or to make a donation, you can visit the website here.

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