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Family of Charlotte native who’s a Desert Storm vet asks for community’s help as he combats rare blood disease

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Dance studio owner Lori Baum prays for husband’s recovery while struggling to pay his medical bills

Retired Air Force veteran Rex Baum has devoted his life to serving his country and improving the quality of life for others in Charlotte who are less fortunate than himself.

Now he and his wife, Lori, are asking their friends, neighbors and residents in the Charlotte area where they were both born and raised to help them in their time of desperation.

3Rex Baum, who served in both Saudi Arabia and Korea during Operation Desert Storm, is in a fight against aplastic anemia, a disease that does not allow his blood to create red or white blood cells or blood platelets.

While undergoing treatment at the Karmanos Cancer Center in Detroit, Rex had to leave his Meijer warehouse job to receive blood transfusions twice a week in order to keep him alive. 

“While we know what the disease is now, it took months to figure out what we were trying to tackle,” Lori Baum said. “He has been told by doctors that he will need a bone marrow transplant. He was one of the lucky few that they were able to find a donor for and he has since received his transplant. 

“But at this point we do not know if it will be successful,” she added. 

Rex Baum has overcome medical challenges and long odds 2before, however. In 2003, he was diagnosed with brain arteriovenous malformation (AVM), caused by a leak in his brain veins that required a two-month stay at a local hospital and six months of rehabilitation to relearn basic skills such as reading and walking. A brain AVM and aplastic anemia occur in less than 1 percent of the population and are completely unrelated to one another. 

“Rex will be at Karmanos for the foreseeable future and when he is released he must in Detroit area instead of Charlotte and will need a 24-hour daily caretaker until the doctors report that he is healthy,” said Lori Baum, who with her husband has been the proud owner of Campbell Dance Studio in Charlotte since 1995, a studio that Lori’s mother started in 1954. Together, the family has taught thousands of local dancers the art of tap and jazz.

“Commitment to helping some of society’s most vulnerable citizens and youth is inherent in her husband’s DNA”, Lori said.

When Rex Baum returned from military service to Charlotte in 1994, he volunteered much of his time to the local chapter of the American Youth Soccer Organization. He spent countless hours coaching his sons soccer team, training young referees and painting the soccer fields every week, and he was instrumental in the opening of the Parkview soccer fields in Charlotte. 

He also volunteered many hours as a Boy Scout Leader in Troop 45 in Charlotte, as well as helped his wife operate Campbell Dance Studio.

Lori Baum echoes her husband’s tireless dedication to civic duty, such as comforting grieving families in her role as a bereavement specialist at Pray Funeral Homes in Charlotte. She has made sure that the Campbell Dance Studio has been involved in the community through the years. She performs annually with her Dancing Deputies at Frontier Days, for example, and routinely volunteers to help with the Charlotte Band Bounce by teaching students how to dance so that they may perform in the event.

Patrick Baum, Rex and Lori’s son, has started a fundraiser on bonemarrow.org to help cover the cost of Rex’s medical procedures.  To see the touching video that Patrick created, visit: Patrick’s Facebook Page

“The support has been amazing thus far,” Patrick Baum said. “Our friends and family have been amazing in rallying to help our family during this difficult time. Words cannot express how much their support and devotion to my dad means to us, and we are simply asking others to open their hearts to ensure he receives the treatment he needs.”

Any money that is raised beyond the amount necessary to cover Rex Baum’s expenses will be donated to an organization that will help future patients of the aplastic anemia blood disease, Patrick Baum said. To donate, visit: onetoonefunds.crowdsterapp.com/rexbaum.

 


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