Benefit to aid local resident’s cancer fight
Wednesday, 26 June 2013 09:29

23-year-old Byer battles rare form of cancer

by Nicole Rodman

    For years, Dundalk resident Julian Alexander Byer suffered with a pain in his right shoulder that no doctor could diagnose.
    The 23-year-old Byer, a graduate of Patapsco High School and Center for the Arts, went from doctor to doctor, racking up medical bills and opinions, as his pain continued unabated.
    Just as he had begun to accept that the pain was a part of his life, he began to feel a new pain in his chest.
    Thinking it was simply a pulled muscle, Byer again went to the doctor, but this time a chest x-ray revealed the truth.
    Examining the x-ray, doctors saw a shadow beside Byer’s heart.

After further testing, the shadow was determined to be a softball-sized tumor ­— a synovial sarcoma.
    A rare form of cancer, synovial sarcoma usually manifests near the joints of the arm, neck or leg, though it can also occur near any major organ.
    Most people diagnosed with synovial sarcoma are young — under 30 — and, more often, male.
    Diagnosed in March, Byer has since undergone extensive surgeries and radiation treatments.
    During surgery, doctors broke open Byer’s sternum to remove the tumor from his chest.
    And, while doctors believe they have gotten all of the cancer, a small shadow on follow-up x-rays means continued radiation treatments for Byer.
    While Byer is hoping to make a full recovery, he continues to struggle with both his health and his medical bills.
    As he explained in a letter given to The Eagle by his aunt, Karan Lindner, he has been out of work recovering from surgery and his bills are piling up.
    While he is on his parents’ insurance, the insurance only covers a small part of the medical bills Byer has accrued.
    According to Lindner, just one of the bills her nephew has received totals $45,000.   
    And, as Byer is unable to work due to his condition, the bills continue to mount.
    “Unfortunately, being only part-time, I do not qualify for temporary disability or any other paid leave of absence,” he wrote, noting, “I want to be able to dedicate myself fully to getting better and having a fresh start, but in order to do that, I need help.”
    To that end, Lindner and others have organized a benefit event to help raise funds for Byer’s treatment.
    Working with friends and family, Lindner was able to secure a location, Glen Burnie Moose Lodge 1456.
    She also secured musical entertainment, both from DJ Productions and her brother’s group, City Lights Band.
    The fundraiser benefit on behalf of Julian Alexander Byer will be held at Glen Burnie Moose Lodge 1456, located at 1911 Crain Highway South, on Sunday, July 14, from 2 to 6 p.m.
    Tickets cost $30 per person and include food, dessert, coffee, soda and beer.
    The event’s festivities will also include door prizes, raffles, prize wheels and more.
    For tickets, or more information, contact Karan Lindner at 443-912-7079.
    As for Byer himself, he is hoping to move past  his cancer and continue pursuing the life he has always dreamed of.
    “I refuse to give up on myself. I want to get married. I want to be a father. I want to do a million different things with my life, and I don’t want to be held back by cancer or by debt,” he wrote, adding, “If there’s anything this experience has taught me, it’s that life is far too short and precious to be placed on the back burner.”