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Doing his part to fight bullying, mark Pink Shirt Day

Oliver Marstaeller was on his way home from a hockey game with his father Kurt one day last fall and the topic on the radio was Amanda Todd, a teenager who committed suicide because of cyberbullying.

"That's just not right, Dad," Oliver said.

It got the Grade 5 student at Richard McBride elementary thinking. He'd been contemplating asking those he was inviting to his 10th birthday party in November to donate to a charity in lieu of presents, but he hadn't made up his mind which one. He'd thought of a children's charity, but the more the Amanda Todd case made headlines the more he couldn't get it out of his head.

"That's just not right at all," Oliver kept saying.

So he came to the conclusion the right place for the donations would be the Stop A Bully campaign

"I just thought how sad you would have to be to feel that way about yourself," said Oliver, wearing a pink Stop A Bully T-shirt. "I thought it was just plain messed up."

Although the only bullying he's really experienced was from a former friend who called him names and threw snowballs at him, Oliver took the $270 he raised and bought 450 pink bracelets for everyone in his school. He also purchased two T-shirts for himself and his friend to wear while performing their anti-bullying rap song in front of the school on Wednesday, which is Pink Shirt Day in Canada. Pink Shirt Day is a day people are encouraged to wear pink to symbol that they will not tolerate bullying.

"I was blown away," says Kurt of his son's decision. "There's the natural feeling (about his son's generosity) because he's a well-rounded kid. More impressive was about how it grew around him and snowballed and how it became bigger than anybody thought."

The organization was so impressed they also included 450 washable tattoos and 500 Stop A Bully cards.

"When he got the box he was pretty excited," says his mom, Jen Kuba. "It was nice to see. The donation is one thing, but to see the reaction grow at school is another thing."

For more information on the organization go to stopabully.ca.

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