CUMBERLAND — Friends and family are coming together to hold a benefit for Patty (Zapf) Bowser, who was beset with a quickly spreading cancer this summer.
The benefit will be held Oct. 12 at Mezzo’s in Cumberland and numerous bands will perform. Funds are being raised to offset the family’s escalating costs of deductibles, co-pays, out-of-pocket expenses and non-covered, extended hospital stays and rehabilitation.
Bowser experienced symptoms in mid-June and by July was hospitalized at Western Maryland Regional Medical Center in critical condition with uterine cancer that spread to her lungs and brain. She remains hospitalized.
Dave Bowser, Patty’s husband, said the response from the community has been overwhelming.
“We are so touched by the outpouring,” he said. “We have been blessed. Our family, friends, our church .... we can’t express our gratitude enough.”
The Bowsers are members of Christ Lutheran Church in LaVale. The church held a spaghetti dinner fundraiser last month.
“People sometimes are unaware of the expenses that are not covered by health care coverage,” Dave Bowser said. “We have insurance but not everything is covered.”
Patty Bowser, 56, had been in relatively good health until June. She is currently fighting a strain of pneumonia.
“It is a battle with a very resistant strain,” Dave Bowser said. “They figured it out on a culture they took. ... If Patty can get past the pneumonia she will be transferred (for a stay) into a rehabilitation facility.”
Dave Bowser said insurance only covers so many days.
“We do have coverage for 35 days of rehab,” he said. “When someone gets very ill and is in a hospital for a long time it only covers a certain amount of time. People need to know that. Also, if you are under the age of 62 you don’t qualify for a lot of things. It really is life changing.”
Patty Bowser has been receiving chemotherapy once a week and radiation Monday through Friday. She was unable to communicate during the first few weeks of her hospital stay, Dave Bowser said.
“Her vocal chords were damaged when she was on the ventilator,” Dave Bowser said. “She uses an iPad to communicate. Now she is able to make her own decisions.
“The oncologists said it was one of the fastest moving cancers,” he said. “More than one doctor told me it was hopeless.”
Dave Bowser said he is grateful for the care provided by Dr. Blanche Mavromatis.
“I don’t know if Patty would be here without her,” he said. “She is a wonderful and excellent oncologist.”
He said Patty’s prognosis isn’t known.
“She is a fighter and very determined,” Dave Bowser said. “We don’t know for sure how this will play out exactly. We hope to prolong her life but there are no guarantees. Once it metastasizes it gets into the body and blood. You never cure cancer, you are only prolonging things.”
The Bowsers have been married for 25 years. Patty Bowser is a customer service representative at First Peoples Community Federal Credit Union.
The benefit will run from 12:30 p.m. to 1 a.m. Bands will perform on two levels. On the main level will be Janice Ray Band, Grateful Ted, Roy Wright, Playing for Pennies and Dan Steven. On the street level will be Hot Sauce Willie, Fyrebird, Channel Cats, Handful of Blue and 28 Speedway. Sound will be provided by Chris Talley.
For more information contact Mary Hendershot-College on Facebook.
Follow staff writer Greg Larry on Twitter @GregLarryCTN.