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Stephen M. Bailey, designed greeting cards and waged lifelong fight against rare disorder

Stephen M. Bailey, designed greeting cards and waged lifelong fight against rare disorder
Stephen M. Bailey, who designed and created greeting cards and waged a lifelong fight against Duchenne muscular dystrophy, died Oct. 3. (HANDOUT)

Stephen M. Bailey, a longtime survivor of Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a genetic disorder, who designed and created greeting cards, died Tuesday of the disease at his Perry Hall home.

He was 51.

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The son of John Bailey Sr., a retired Baltimore County public schools administrator, and Marion Bailey, a registered nurse, Stephen Michael Bailey was born in Baltimore and raised in Perry Hall.

Mr. Bailey was 5 years old when he was diagnosed with Duchenne muscular dystrophy, a rare degenerative neuromuscular disease for which there is no cure. It causes muscles in the body to atrophy until a person loses all ability to move or breathe.

By the time he reached the seventh grade, Mr. Bailey was in his first wheelchair, and by the time he was in his early 20s, he could no longer feed himself of breathe comfortably on his own, family members said.

He was told that he wouldn't live to see his 20th birthday, family members said, but Mr. Bailey went on to graduate from Perry Hall High School in 1984 and earn an associate's degree in computer-aided drafting from what is now the Community College of Baltimore County's Essex campus.

Mr. Bailey, who lived with his parents in their Perry Hall home, was self-employed. He designed and produced personal greeting cards for people.

"He also enjoyed writing," said hsi sister, Carol Anne Celozzi of Perry Hall.

Mr. Bailey's younger brother, Thomas Bailey, also suffered from Duchenne. He died in 1992 at the age of 32 after completing an autobiography, "Moving Mountains Without Muscles."

The two brothers, who shared a strong bond because of the disease, had been poster children for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, and for years, they and their family regularly participated in the annual Jerry Lewis Labor Day Telethon.

The brothers even co-hosted the telethon one year, family members said.

Mr. Bailey refused to let DMD define his life, family members said. He loved watching movies — "Forrest Gump" was a particular favorite. He also enjoyed attending concerts, listening to music, and eating Chinese food and crabs. He was also an avid Ravens fan.

Mr. Bailey was a communicant of St. Joseph Roman Catholic Church, 8420 Belair Road, Fullerton, where a Mass of Christian burial will be offered at 11 a.m. Monday.

In addition to his father and sister, he is survived by another brother, John Bailey Jr. of Kingsville; and eight nieces and nephews.

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