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School sale raises $1,400 for Bester's Bradley Palmer

April 30, 1997

Is there anything that stirs our emotions as much as a suffering child?

When I first heard about the Washington, D.C. woman who allegedly tied her boyfriend's child to the bed 22 hours a day, taping his mouth shut to keep him quiet, I told a co-worker that, if found guilty, the woman ought to be caned with the sharpened bamboo model they use to enforce discipline in Singapore.

Unfortunately, the entity causing Bradley Palmer's pain is nothing anyone can see without the aid of a microscope. Bradley, a 9-year-old student (until his illness) at Hagerstown's Bester Elementary School, is recovering from leukemia, and the treatments that have brought him to remission have had some serious side effects, which I described in this column last week.

The Palmers have insurance to cover his medical treatments, but not all of his medicine, or the costs of meals and other incidentals when they must drive the child to Baltimore for treatment. This past Saturday, Bradley's classmates and their parents did something about that, holding a yard and bake sale at the school which raised $1,400.

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A little bit after 10 a.m., when the crowd had thinned out, Bradley's father brought him to the school's cafeteria, where the tables were piled high with donated goods - mostly children's clothes. As he and his sister looked over what had been brought in, the senior Palmer explained to me that they wanted to bring the boy in, but didn't want a crowd of people exposing the boy's weakened system to any germs.

I passed along the cards we'd received for Bradley, and told him about two calls I'd received. One came from a Waynesboro, Pa., man whose 15-year-old was also suffering from leukemia. The man asked me to pass along his phone number, saying that there were a number of little-known funding sources that can help parents in these situations.

The other call came from a former lymphoma patient, who said that her daughter in North Carolina had sent her a book on foods that can be eaten during chemotheraphy without inducing nausea. Her Hagerstown doctor has checked them out, and approves, she said.

There have also been at least 40 get-well cards sent to Bradley in care of The Herald-Mail by well-wishers. If you'd like to send one, write to Bradley Palmer, c/o Bob Maginnis, The Herald-Mail, 100 Summit Ave., Hagerstown, Md., 21740. If you'd like to help with expenses, please contact the school at (301) 766-8001.

XXX

Thanks to a tip from Les Powlen, owner of Powlen Equipment here, my wife and I recently attended a "theme dinner" at Washington County's Career Studies Center. Put on by the culinary arts students of chef Mike Toth, this dinner featured foods of the Pacific rim, including a variety of Oriental dishes.

It was well worth the $11-a-person cost, and the 50 or so who attended got the satisfaction of lending support to students who are honing their food-preparation skills. The next one is planned for November 1997, date to be announced.

XXX

The death of columnist Mike Royko will leave a void on Herald-Mail's editorial page that we'll fill, at least temporarily, with some of his vintage columns. But very soon we'll have to choose someone new to replace him, preferably someone with a sense of humor. If readers have suggestions, please send them to Bob Maginnis, The Herald-Mail, P.O. Box 439, Hagerstown, Md., 21740.

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In what may be citizens' last chance to see at least some of the candidates for Hagerstown's mayor and council in action, the United Democrats of Washington County will hold a forum for Democratic hopefuls at Wednesday, May 7, at 7:30 p.m. at the Morris Frock American Legion Post No. 42 on Northern Avenue in Hagerstown.

According to Rick Hemphill, past president of the United Democrats, the meeting is open to the public.

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