Former cancer patient returns the favor

May 03, 1992|By Angela Gambill | Angela Gambill,Staff writer

Recovered cancer patient Stephen Malicki wants to do for others what friends did for him: raise money to pay their medical bills.

Malicki, 24, will conduct a benefit dance this month to help cancer patients in Anne Arundel.

"It's bad enough when you get [cancer]," he said. "If you don't have enough money, it makes the nightmare incredibly worse."

Two springs ago, Malicki was diagnosed with cancer of the lymph nodes in his abdomen and underwent surgery to have the tumor removed. Last May, his two brothers held a benefit dance to raise money for the Glen Burnie resident's $9,000 in medical bills. With his cancer in remission, Malicki now wants to do likewise.

"I set up a fund at North Arundel Hospital for people in the area who get cancer and don't have the right insurance or don't have the money to go into the hospital," said the Glen Burnie High graduate, who recently started his own roofing business.

To raise money for the fund, he's organized a concert and dance featuring Brian Jack, formerly lead singer with the rock group Child's Play. The benefit will be at the Kurtz Pleasure Beach in Pasadena from 7 p.m. to midnight on May 9.

Malicki knows what it's like to need help. Two years ago, he was working as a roofer in New Jersey when he started suffering from sharp abdominal pains. The roofing company he worked for in Ocean City, N.J., offered no medical insurance, and Malicki's cancer was found before he could afford a health plan, he said.

He came home to Glen Burnie, and his brothers rallied community members for a dance last May, which cleared about $6,500 for Malicki's bills. Malicki said he hopes to match that amount at the dance this Saturday.

Kevin Murname, public relations spokesman for North Arundel Hospital, said the money from the benefit will help cancer patients who just can't pay their bills.

"Many times, patients going through radiation therapy have to quit work," Murname said. "And if they quit work, their insurance benefits stop. We treat numerous people who fall into that category."

Even when insurance covers medical bills, it usually pays only 80 percent of the total, Murname said. "There's no way an elderly person on Social Security can pay 20 percent of their bills," he said. "This [fund] will help get rid of one of their worries."

The hospital set a $500 limit per person, as Malicki wants to help as many patients as possible.

Local businesses, such as Bay Area Venture Corp. of Glen Burnie, have pitched in with donations and Orioles tickets for raffles. Visitors to North Arundel Hospital have already made donations to the fund.

Tickets for the dance cost $14 in advance, $16 at the door. They include the concert and beer. A cash bar for liquor and a cash grill will be set up.

"It brings people together," said Malicki. "I wanted to give back to the community by raising money for the cancer fund because the people here gave me so much."

Having the money channeled through the hospital means Malicki can know exactly who will benefit from the dance, he said.

Those interested in advance tickets for the May 9 benefit may call Malicki at 768-3511.

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