Entertainment booked, raffles being organized for Mark Samolinski benefit|
|It’s rare for a benefit to be billed as a concert, but that is the case Saturday when friends, co-workers and family gather for a major fund-raiser for Mark Samolinski, an Antigo man suffering from a very complicated cancer.|
The benefit is open to the public, admission is free and the headline entertainment, and reasons for the “concert” billing, is Southern Gypsy, one of the state’s most recognized bands. Other entertainers for the event, scheduled for 4 to 11 p.m. at North Star Lanes banquet facilities, includes Jason McNabb of Marshal Reign and the band, Jagged Highway.
The powerhouse day of activities has been in the planning stages by a committee formed from those friends, family and co-workers at Merit Gear Co., where Samolinski was employed.
In March of 2012, Samolinski was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma of the left true and false vocal cords. Since then he has had multiple surgeries, including leukoplakia removal, a hemilaryngectomy and most recently a full laryngetomy and removal of stage 4 cancerous lymph nodes.
During his last surgery, Samolinski also underwent a tracheostomy, leaving him with a throat hole (stoma) that allows air to his lungs. This surgery prevents him from ever speaking with his own voice again.
He has just completed his second course of radiation and chemotherapy treatment.
The combination of medical treatments, surgeries and expensive self-pay insurance premiums during a time of uncertain income and imminent insurance coverage changes has left Samolinski and his family extremely concerned about their future.
Expenses and debt continue to grow while he is struggling to fight his disease.
At a meeting of the committee working on the benefit they explained that Antigo has proven to be a very giving community for people and families facing difficult situations, and they hope it holds true for Saturday.
The committee said there is still time for donations from organizations and individuals.
There are a wide variety of raffle prizes.
All funds raised will be used to pay hospital bills, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, medications, and other expenses he is incurring as a result of his illness. Donations may be made to the Mark Samolinski Cancer Benefit Fund at CoVantage Credit Union in Antigo.
The webpage www.samolinskicancerfund.com has also been created for those who would rather make a donation with a credit card or debit card.
Mark Samolinski poses in a photograph with his family. Included are his wife, Denise, son Steffin and daughter, Jade.
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