Friendship, support is breath of fresh air in Severna Park


Glenda Sue Schollian knew her friends were truly priceless, but when money did matter, they collected $13,000 in her name.

When Ms. Schollian's doctor told her in June she needed a double lung transplant to make her life with cystic fibrosis more bearable, the fund-raising began. Though later testsshowed that Mrs. Schollian's condition was not bad enough to operate, the money remains in a trust fund for Mrs. Schollian and other cystic fibrosis patients who may need financial assistance.

Sunday, the Severna Park Jaycees will give Friends of Glenda Sue, Mrs. Schollian's fund, about $800 raised in a raffle.

Friends of Glenda Sue already has raised about $13,000 through a dance and a 50-50 raffle in which the winnings were donated to the fund. The prize for Sunday's raffle is a crab feast that will include two bushels of steamed crabs, a half-bushel of corn, a case of beer and a case of soda. The winner will be announced Sunday at the Jaycees' crab feast in Kinder Park.

"I thought it was important that we do something to help," said Ann McGrath, president of the Severna Park Jaycees and a longtime friend of Mrs. Schollian.

She said the community has been very supportive of the raffle that began in July. Everything except the crabs has been donated.

"It's nice to know that when people in the community need help, people will help them. It kind of restores your faith in people," Ms. McGrath said.

Cystic fibrosis is an incurable genetic disease that causes the body to produce mucus that clogs the lungs. As the mucus fills the lungs, they slowly become glued together and inoperable. A lung transplant buys a patient time by giving the disease new lungs to wear down.

About 30,000 Americans -- including Mrs. Schollian's brother, two years her junior -- have the disease, which kills half its victims before they reach the age of 29. At 36, Mrs. Schollian has already outlived many cystic fibrosis patients.

"It makes you feel pretty weird when people walk up to you and say, 'Hey, you're still alive,' " Mrs. Schollian said. "I take it as a compliment."

The disease did not disable Mrs. Schollian until February, she began to need an oxygen tank.

In June, she left her job as an office manager for Burlage Associates, a Severna Park accounting firm. The summer's humid weather, made it too difficult for her to be active, even with the oxygen. She now does other work for the company from her home.

At the end of June, Mrs. Schollian, her husband, parents and her twin sisters traveled to a cystic fibrosis clinic at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill after she learned a transplant may be necessary.

Her sisters were each going to donate a lung or part of a lung for the operation, but doctors there advised her to join the cystic fibrosis clinic at Johns Hopkins hospital for further treatment. Her first appointment at Johns Hopkins is tomorrow.

"I was real fortunate that I didn't have to have that surgery," said Mrs. Schollian. "It's literally your worst nightmare, only twice as bad."

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