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Craig Lyons, 64, of Westminster, was diagnosed with stage 3 multiple myeloma last year. His daughter Jenny Lyons, right, along with other friends and family, have organized a fundraiser to benefit her father’s care on Friday.
Craig Lyons, 64, of Westminster, was diagnosed with stage 3 multiple myeloma last year. His daughter Jenny Lyons, right, along with other friends and family, have organized a fundraiser to benefit her father’s care on Friday. (courtesy photo)

Craig Lyons, 64, of Westminster, is famous in certain circles for his chicken wings. Whether they're made with Old Bay seasoning or his wife's hot sauce recipe, he said good chicken wings can draw attention.

Instead of spending a carefree summer by the grill, however, Lyons is dealing with the effects of chemotherapy. He was diagnosed with Stage 3 multiple myeloma, a cancer of the white blood cells, in October 2016.

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These effects include short-term memory limitations and stabbing nerve pain in his feet that limits his mobility.

This form of cancer is currently incurable, but Lyons hopes that researchers will make progress toward a cure in the next several years.

"The way I see it, there are two ways to look at this," he said. "You can either fight it like it's the flu or you can sit in a corner and suck your thumb. I decided I'm just going to fight this."

He said he hopes to get back to his work in sales if he can regain more energy and mobility. "My retirement was not planned," he said.

Lyons said his wife and children, Jenny, 24, and Richard, 27, have been supportive of him during his treatment. Jenny Lyons, along with many other friends and family members have organized an Italian dinner and silent auction to benefit her father's care on Friday, June 30.

The auction will include more than 60 items, including signed gear from Maryland and Pennsylvania sports teams, all-inclusive resort trips, tickets to events around Maryland, restaurant gift cards and a 50/50 raffle. Sunday Night Big Band will play from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.

Area businesses are donating the food for the dinner. Giulianova Groceria and Deli owner Billy Schroeder said his family has grown fond of Jenny Lyons through her friendship with his daughter. When she reached out to him, he was happy to donate his business's baked ziti to the event as well as his experience planning large-scale meals.

"Whatever influence Giulianova has in the community, we were more than happy to lend," Schroeder said. Several local organizations have pitched in to donate to the event. "Everyone just jumped on and helped out."

Partnering with the National Foundation for Transplants, the family set a $50,000 fundraising goal.

"NFT is a nonprofit organization that helps patients raise funds to pay for transplant-related expenses through their community-based fundraising program," according to a news release from Claire Price, consultant for the organization.

In the future, a bone marrow transplant could be beneficial to Lyons.

This June, bone marrow had already been removed and Lyons was expecting to go into surgery. Then, his doctors decided to postpone the operation and re-evaluate in September. They do not want to put Lyons through high levels of chemotherapy involved in the transplant if it isn't necessary.

The transplant surgery takes a toll. Doctors will need to remove some of Lyons' own marrow, dose his body with chemotherapy, and return the marrow to what they hope is then a cancer-free body. Recovery will mean three weeks in the hospital and three months in isolation at home.

Transplants are also expensive, costing around $380,000 according to a news release from the NFT. And that number comes before additional surgery expenses, medication or follow-up care.

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For more information and a link to donate to Craig Lyons' treatment, visit give.transplants.org.

crighter@baltsun.com

410-857-3315

twitter.com/Cat_Righter

If you go

What: Silent auction and Italian dinner to benefit medical expenses for Craig Lyons

When: 5 to 9 p.m. Friday, June 30

Where: St. Johns Portico, 43 Monroe St., Westminster

Tickets: $10 for adults and $6 for children ages 7 and younger

RSVP: By Thursday, June 29, to Jenny Lyons at 443-244-2993 or jenlyons01@gmail.com. A limited amount of tickets will be available at the door.



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