Support is `amazing' for popular worker out with brain tumor


April 19, 2001|By Joni Guhne | Joni Guhne,SPECIAL TO THE SUN

"THIS IS LIKE a slap in the world's face," was all Kayleen Weinman-Clute could say when told that her 25-year-old friend, Henry Bundy III of Severna Park, had been diagnosed with an inoperable, malignant brain tumor.

Weinman-Clute, a pediatric nurse-practitioner, describes herself as a regular patron of the Chesapeake Bagel Bakery in Severna Park's Park Plaza shopping center on Ritchie Highway. That's where Bundy conducted what best can be described as daily seminars on good customer relations.

He treated everyone who walked through the front door with a most sincere regard, until the diagnosis in early December of the condition that has curtailed his ability to work.

"Whether he was having a good day or not, Henry never let his fellow employees or the customers know," says David Win, who bought the bakery in August.

"Henry always made you feel like you were a long-lost friend coming in to get something to eat," says Weinman-Clute, a Severna Park resident.

Like so many others, she was on a first-name basis with the tall, affable young man, a fixture at the bakery for two years. "There are certain people with a synergy, and Henry is one of those people," says Weinman-Clute. "There's a 30 percent recovery rate for his condition, and he seems like he should be one of those people."

Now, Weinman-Clute and Chesapeake Bagel employee Blanche O'Roarke are heading up an auction to help Bundy along his path to recovery. The auction is scheduled for 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Saturday at Pasadena United Methodist Church on Ritchie Highway.

"The auction is intended to do two things," says Weinman-Clute. "First, to provide Henry with some additional financial support for medical bills and living expenses. And second, to have an event that will show Henry how many people are praying and pulling for him - to see a room full of people who care, and to let him see that all of us are cheering for him."

The tumor interferes with his mobility, so that even when he's not hospitalized, Henry is unable to work. The young man is supporting his wife, Sarah, and their 2-year-old daughter, Taylor, on disability pay - about half his normal income.

The health care professional is familiar with the connection between a positive outlook and a potential cure: "Long-term cancer survival studies have shown that survival is linked to attitude," Weinman-Clute says, "and we know Henry is one awesome, upbeat person."

"Henry turned 25 on Dec. 7 and was diagnosed the following day," says O'Roarke, who was hired at the bakery about the same time as Bundy.

"Henry's a great friend, an all-around likable guy. The first thing you notice is his smile. When I walk into the bakery, I can still see his smile, even when he's not there."

Donations for the auction are pouring in, says O'Roarke - nine double-spaced pages list items received so far. The list includes a baseball bat signed by outfielder Rickey Henderson, now with the San Diego Padres; a musical snow globe with a miniature of Baltimore's Camden Yards ballpark inside; two sets of tickets for a June 10 Baltimore Orioles game there; gift certificates from nearly every restaurant and food emporium in greater Severna Park; free photo portrait sittings; framed art; signed books; various collectibles; and lots of beauty care.

"The outpouring of support has been amazing," says O'Roarke. "With so much fighting in the world today, this makes you believe that there is still good."

Normally it would take months to prepare for an event this size, Weinman-Clute acknowledges, but adds, "Time is of the essence, and we know this community is filled with loving, gracious people."

Before the recent proliferation of coffee shops and bakeries around Severna Park --- a half-dozen are open or preparing to open - there was just one place to get a great cup of coffee and a bagel, and that was Chesapeake. After opening in 1991, owner John Luther set the tone for community involvement - awards of free bagels for school kids, for example, and co-sponsoring the Bagel Walkers program with North Arundel Hospital.

The bakery quickly became the unofficial early morning destination for Severna Park's trail walkers, shoppers and commuters traveling along Ritchie Highway.

The new owner, Win, a Davidsonville resident who formerly lived in Severna Park, says, "A lot of my business base comes from school kids." He caters lunch every Monday at Severn School and Chesapeake Academy.

"The students always treated Henry as one of their own," Win said. "When we walked down school halls to deliver food, the students would shout a greeting to him from their desks."

A jar placed on the counter at the bakery has evolved into the Henry Bundy Fund - the money used to pay rent for the Bundy apartment, to buy a used vehicle so he can get to radiation and chemotherapy treatments, and to help with medical bills.

Checks made out to Henry Bundy may be mailed to 552-I Ritchie Highway, Severna Park 21146.

For auction information, contact Weinman-Clute at 410-315-8380 or O'Roarke at 410-421-5228.

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