Michael Mongiello is proud to be bald, and he'll happily tell you why.
The fifth-grader at Dogwood Elementary School in Smithtown has raised more than $4,000 this spring through donations from friends and family and then shaved his head to support the St. Baldrick's Foundation, a childhood cancer charity. His initial goal was $200.
He raised the money by sending out emails, distributing fliers and promoting his effort on Facebook -- and then following up with individuals who initially agreed to donate, but didn't. In addition, he wore a pin with the phrase "Ask Me Why I'm Bald" for several weeks following the event in an effort to further educate people about the charity.
"It's not bad to be bald," said Michael, 10, who went bald last month during a fundraiser at Napper Tandy's Irish Pub in Smithtown. "Cancer is something that kids shouldn't have to fight alone."
Michael learned about St. Baldrick's last year when he cut his hair shorter than he had intended and his father responded by telling him about the nonprofit.
He also is a member of his school's Peanut Butter Gang, a student group that provides care packages to less fortunate people in the local community. In addition, he is a member of the student council and plays trumpet, lacrosse and football.