Annapolis police to sponsor bowl-a-thons to raise money for officer's sick child Efforts will help pay for boy's chemotherapy

January 14, 1996|By TaNoah V. Sterling | TaNoah V. Sterling,SUN STAFF

In October, 13-year-old Shawn Custer was playing football with his friends. Today he is in a hospital in Columbus, Ohio, fighting a quick-spreading cancer doctors discovered two months ago.

The bill for his hospital stays, surgeries and chemotherapy treatments has run into the thousands of dollars. To help pay those bills, co-workers of his father, Officer Kenneth R. Custer of the Annapolis Police Department, are sponsoring four bowl-a-thons at Annapolis Bowl, 2057 General's Highway. The next one is set for 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. today.

"We'll be happy with anything we get," said Donna Higgs, a city police dispatcher and close friend of Mr. Custer.

Ms. Higgs, Officer Maria Robinson and Emily Green, who works in the department's public relations unit, organized the event. They hope to raise at least $2,000.

The first two bowl-a-thons were held Thursday afternoon and Friday evening. The group raised about $45 in donations Thursday. That figure did not include any money from sponsored bowlers, or registration fees. The last bowl-a-thon will be held from 9 p.m. to midnight Friday, and organizers are expecting a good turnout.

"We're hoping to get at least 50 people," Ms. Higgs said. "A lot of people have promised to come out."

The bowl-a-thon is open to anyone who pays the $10 registration fee, which buys three games and bowling shoes for the evening. Organizers are asking bowlers to find sponsors to pay 5 cents for each pin knocked down.

A little more than half of the $5.50 registration fee, all the money raised through sponsorship and any additional donations will go toward Shawn's medical bills, Ms. Higgs said.

Michael Hall, assistant manager of Annapolis Bowl, said his company is happy to help the sick boy.

"Anything for a good cause is worthwhile, especially something like this," he said. "Hopefully, we'll have a good turnout. I hope he can get something out of it."

Shawn, a former student at Antioch Christian Academy in Arnold, moved to Belpre, Ohio, last summer to live with his mother. The week before Thanksgiving, he went to the doctor for a stomachache and was diagnosed with cancer after the physician found a lump in his stomach.

Since then, he has undergone two surgeries to remove tumors from his stomach and lungs. He had a third operation last week to repair damage to his stomach.

He has had one, five-day chemotherapy treatment, which cost between $3,000 and $4,000, and likely will have to undergo more. He has spent several weeks in the hospital.

Ms. Higgs said she believes the boy's family will have to pay at least 20 percent of the medical bills. The family did not want to be interviewed.

For information on how to participate in the bowl-a-thons, sponsor a bowler or make a donation, call Ms. Higgs, Officer Robinson or Ms. Green at the Annapolis Police Department, (410) 268-9000.

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