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Cancer fundraisers scheduled



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June 06, 2012 - Two local residents can use support from the community in fighting their battles against cancer.

Charlene Helmle, 47, was first diagnosed in 2008 with stage 2 breast cancer. The single mother of two sons, Kyle, 21, and Joshua, 18, had a lumpectomy and underwent chemotherapy. Faced with the prospect of losing her hair, she shaved her head and was joined by her son and his fellow Brandon High School Boys swim teammates at the time. After her treatment was completed, she was declared cancer-free.

This January, however, Helmle was diagnosed with metastatic breast cancer—it had spread to her lymph nodes. This past week, she was also diagnosed with ovarian cancer. Now she is once more fighting for her life.

She will begin chemotherapy again on Monday, after the graduation of son Joshua from Brandon High School this weekend.

"I don't want to be ill for the graduation ceremony," said Helmle, who recently had to put her pet grooming business at Pet Supplies "Plus" in Ortonville on hold. Because she is unable to work, she will have a difficult time paying her monthly health insurance premium.

Her family and friends hope to help defray her expenses with a spaghetti dinner fundraiser planned for 5-9 p.m., June 21, at the Edna Burton Senior Center, 345 Ball Street. Price is $8 for adults; $5 for senior citizens and children 12 and under; $30 maximum for families of 4 or more. A second fundraiser is planned for 5-9 p.m., June 26 at Bullfrogs. Patrons must have a coupon supporting Charlene to have 20 percent of the proceeds from their bill given to assist her in her fight. Tickets are available in advance from Robin Loughlin, 248-892-2762, or Cyndi Livingstone, 248-227-7897.

Brendan Czarniecki is also waging war against cancer. The 2003 Clarkston High School graduate began experiencing flu-like symptoms last August and had to delay his planned October 2011 wedding to 2005 Brandon High School graduate Dayna Stamper. He was misdiagnosed with pneumonia for several months, before being sent to the University of Michigan, where in January doctors confirmed he has lymphoma.

Czarniecki is in the midst of chemotherapy treatments which will be completed in July. He hopes to marry Stamper soon. He has been unable to work at his job with Central Michigan Movers since December.

"This has changed my view on life big time," said Czarniecki. "I went from working 50 to 60 hours per week to spending time with family. I wake up and thank God I'm breathing and have all my fingers and toes. I complain less now about little things. Other people have it worse than I do."

He is grateful for Stamper by his side, and the support received from family and friends.

A spaghetti dinner fundraiser for Czarniecki is planned for 5 p.m., June 23 at the Clarkston Eagles Hall, 5640 Maybee Road. Tickets are $10 and available at the door or in advance at the Eagles Hall. Details: Dayna at 248-240-0163 or Valerie at 248-625-5358.

Susan covers Brandon Township and Ortonville
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