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Shelby Township

Family turns to holistic care, friends for cancer treatment

September 26, 2012

» click to enlarge «
Cousins Donna Marie Jones and Brent Valere, who came into town from Canada, greet Mark Wagner at a spaghetti dinner to fund his fight against pancreatic cancer Sept. 20.

TROY — When Mark Wagner was told his pancreatic cancer had resurfaced shortly after Christmas 2011, the prognosis from doctors was one of little hope.

Fortunately, Wagner, of Royal Oak, had no shortage of hope and help from his friends and family as he sought treatments in a more non-traditional manner.

“The doctors didn’t really offer much hope or help from traditional treatment,” Wagner’s mother, Marylyn Wagner, of Shelby Township, said of the cancer that reappeared shortly after her son was wed.

“He’s really, really trying to stay on top of it, though. And the holistic doctors are trying to with their natural methods.”

Wagner’s choice to go the route of holistic treatments for cancer requires a greater financial investment, as they are not covered by insurance, so support from his friends and family is forced to go beyond rides to the hospital or simple well wishes.

“It costs close to $4,000 per month for treatments,” said Marianne Campagna, a family friend of the Wagners for more than 50 years.

So with the ever-increasing need for financial support, the Wagners did what any metro Detroit family would do — host a spaghetti-dinner fundraiser at the San Marino Club in Troy.

“The family and friends got together, and we planned this dinner for him,” Campagna said of the fundraiser that featured everything from auctions to a 50-50 raffle.

“We’ve been planning it for three months, and I live near Ypsilanti, so I’ve been spreading the word on that side of town to get as many people as we could out to help.”

The Wagners filled 30 tables and unofficially counted 250 to 300 supporters who donated $25 per seat at the dinner. They also had the support of numerous local businesses for roughly 50 silent auction items at the event.

“Because Marylyn and Carl are two of the nicest people you’ll ever meet,” Marylyn’s friend, Betty Herbert, said of why she felt the event was such as success.

“They’re sweet, sweet people. They’d do anything for you. And this has been such a hard thing with their son. I know that they would be there for me.”

And that kind of support and love might be the greatest brand of natural treatment Wagner and his family can ask for.

“It’s been the support and love and kindness and generosity,” Marylyn Wagner said of the emotional outpouring for her son, before being interrupted by one of the many folks wishing to say hi at the fundraiser dinner with the theme of No One Fights Alone.

“It’s just amazing,” Marylyn Wagner added. “It’s just beautiful to see so many people fighting with him for him. No one fights alone, and it’s proven right here with all these people here fighting for him.”

For more information on Mark Wagner’s fight against pancreatic cancer or to donate to his cause, visit or tion.

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