Community activist returns to Lansdowne to battle cancer

Only months after he moved away to start a career in Phoenix, Ariz., longtime Lansdowne community activist Brian Bailey has returned to the area. The 27-year-old former president of the Lansdowne Improvement Association is back to receive cancer treatment for a tumor the size of a softball that is growing on the right side of his chest.

Bailey, who could only be contacted through email, is receiving treatment for an aggressive malignant mediastinal germ cell tumor at The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center at Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Vanessa Wasta, a spokeswoman for the Kimmel Cancer Center, said she could not provide any information on the disease.

The chemotherapy treatment is scheduled to last through mid-fall, he said.

"It's nearly worse than the cancer itself, and has some pretty awful side effects as well," Bailey wrote in an email on June 20, the day after an unexpected hospital visit. "It makes you weak and tired and changes your appetite and taste buds."

A loss of hair is the most noticeable side effect, he said.

In a text message he sent June 25, Bailey said he had gone to a hospital emergency room in Phoenix earlier this spring after experiencing chest pain and difficulty breathing.

Doctors diagnosed him with the cancer on May 1 and he said he began receiving chemotherapy in mid-May at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center in Phoenix.

He said he moved back to Lansdowne on June 16, partly to be closer to family and friends.

Paula Wolf, a friend of Bailey's for the past six years, said despite the grueling treatments he has kept a positive outlook.

"He's looking at this as something that's treatable and when he emerges from this he'll be stronger and ready to take on the next challenge," Wolf said.

Before leaving for Arizona, Bailey took an active role in the only place he had lived, serving on a variety of associations and programs.

Bailey was chairman of the Baltimore County Democratic Party, co-chairman of the Southwest Area Educational Advisory Council, treasurer of the Southwest Leadership Team and chaired a committee for the Wilkens Police and Community Relations Organization.

In November 2010, Bailey drew 17 percent of the vote as one of five candidates in the Democratic primary for the 1st District seat in the Baltimore County Council behind eventual winner Tom Quirk.

In July 2011, the Lansdowne Improvement Association elected Bailey as its president.

According to the website of the National Cancer Institute, germ cells are reproductive cells that develop into sperm in men and eggs in women.

Extragonadal germ cell tumors are rare and form on a part of the body other than an ovary or testicle, such as the chest, abdomen or brain, the website stated.

These tumors are more likely to occur in men over the age of 20, according to the website.

Bailey resigned from his position as executive director of Arizona Petroleum Marketers Association in the spring.

He called having the support of his family "wonderful."

"People really genuinely want him to get better and feel for him," Wolf said. "I think that's important because it says a lot about the type of person he is."

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad