PPF, Inc. mourns the loss of recipient, “Jeff Baum” on April 28, 2016. We are saddened by his passing and send prayers of peace comfort to his family and friends.
Jeffrey Baum was born on March 21, 1963 in Latrobe, PA with Spina Bifida. This birth defect occurs when the bones of the spine do not form properly around part of the spinal cord. From birth to early childhood Jeff went through multiple surgeries to try to correct different problems, eventually leaving him to rely on crutches and leg braces to walk. Jeff is not only a son, brother, uncle and a great friend, he is also one of the most strong-willed and independent individuals you’ll ever meet. He never let his physical handicap hold him back from living life to the fullest, thanks to his determination. Considering his independence, the challenges caused by Spina Bifida did not stop him from the things anyone would want out of life. He attended public schools instead of a special needs school, drove vehicles that aren’t handicap equipped, hung out with friends, and the list goes on and on.
Some of Jeff’s favorite pastimes and interests were attending NASCAR races (especially Dover…Go Tony Stewart!!) and classic car shows, vacationing in Ocean City, MD, gardening and visiting family members – especially on holidays and other special occasions. He also loves the Pittsburgh Steelers, Pittsburgh Pirates and a new recent favorite, the Baltimore Orioles. Yes, he is definitely a car and sports fanatic!
Jeff has worked and provided for himself his entire life. Due to his cancer battle journey, he was forced to take an early medical retirement in November 2014. He had a very successful career with the same employer for over 28 years. He purchased his home in Shady Side, MD in 1994 located less than a block away from the bay. Unfortunately in 2003 he lost his house to Hurricane Isabel. He overcame this tragedy when a new house was rebuilt in 2005 after a year and a half long ordeal with FEMA and mortgage lenders. Now being confined to his home, he is missing out on a lot of things he enjoys doing; no more weekend getaways at his sister’s house, no more trips to Ocean City, no more NASCAR races in Delaware and even a short drive to some of his favorite restaurants on the bay (only minutes away) are a huge discomfort for him.
Because of the difficulties due to Spina Bifida, Jeff acquired multiple sores on his legs and pelvic area. These sores unfortunately worsened and required immediate surgery at University of Maryland Shock Trauma on February 2, 2014. After hospitalization, rehabilitation and further testing, Jeff was diagnosed with squamous cell carcinoma (cancer), covering an extremely large area on his left thigh. For a year and a half, his doctors have been doing aggressive infusion treatments of CITUXAMAB, given every two weeks. He also underwent multiple debridement surgeries of the wound and was given radiation treatments, which in turn caused the affected area to become much larger. Results were very slow and in September 2015 his doctors placed him on an experimental treatment program which consists of infusion treatments of KEYTRUDA. This drug is not only very expensive, but will only continue through February 2016.
Jeff lives at home alone, where a wound nurse must visit him daily to clean and bandage the affected area on his leg. He also requires transportation to and from the University of Maryland Hospital (in Baltimore) for infusion treatments, tests, biopsies and doctor appointments. Since starting the KEYTRUDA treatments, he has lost most of his physical strength; therefore making long car rides (to and from the hospital) quite uncomfortable. Even small everyday menial tasks around the house are becoming extremely difficult.
Although Jeff has been a trooper his entire life, the medical expenses and related problems are overtaking his ability to cope with them. We are asking that you see it in your heart to help Jeff the best you can with donations to this fundraiser.
God bless and thank you!
*Spina Bifida: A birth defect in which a developing baby’s spinal cord fails to develop properly, leaving the lower half of the body with very little to almost no feeling. Cannot be cured but treatment can help. There are a few different types of Spina Bifida, but Jeff has this type where there is little to no feeling from the waist down.