Bath arts center to hold concert for 4-year-old with cancer

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BATH — Amie and Andy Marzen are looking forward to the day their daughter can dance again.

Four-year-old Madeline Marzen of Bath was diagnosed in August with an inoperable and aggressive malignant brain tumor. Although the growth is inoperable because of its location, it can be treated through chemotherapy and radiation.

To help cover expenses, the Chocolate Church Arts Center will hold “Band Together for Madeline,” a benefit concert for the child, from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15.

“It’s been completely life changing,” Amie Marzen said in an interview Sept. 28. “This fundraiser is just going to be incredible. The support from the community is amazing.”

Since the tumor is in the control center of the brain, the impact on Madeline has been significant, her mother said.

“Two months ago, she was just a normal 4-year-old,” Marzen said, noting that the day before the Aug. 8 onset of Madeline’s illness, “she was at ballet tap class,  dancing away with her friends, and smiling and talking.”

Madeline then became more lethargic, spurring Marzen and her husband to call a doctor. Blood test results looked normal, but a neurologist, noticing the child slightly favored one side, scheduled a magnetic resonance imaging scan.

“By that evening, she couldn’t move her left side at all,” Marzen recalled. “So we came into the emergency room, and left with a brain tumor.”

Madeline has now lost the abilities to walk and sit on her own, and has difficulty speaking. But there are also glimpses of the Madeline from just three months ago.

“We’re kind of just living for those moments right now,” Marzen said. “Working towards getting our little girl back, getting that spark back.”

Insurance is covering Madeline’s treatments, and the fundraiser will help with expenses such as transportation to Boston and adaptations at home.

Also, Marzen said, it’s about “just knowing the insurance industry might change, and that not everything might always be covered. So it’s going to be a safety net to make sure that we always get what she needs.”

The Chocolate Church reached out to the Marzens, according to Marzen, who previously was president of the Studio Theater of Bath.

“This event is especially personal because Marzen has been an active member of the creative community,” Jennifer DeChant, the art center’s executive director, said Sept. 28. “We take care of our own. It is a close-knit community. Marzen has been on stage many times at the Chocolate Church. Now that she and her family face such a challenging situation, it was (natural) for CCAC to host the event.”

With so many people volunteering their time for the concert, many of whom the Marzens don’t even know, Marzen is deeply grateful.

“We live in the best community ever,” she said. “It’s just really humbling.”

Madeline is experiencing an intense chemotherapy regimen at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital in Portland. Next month she will undergo a specialized proton radiation treatment in Boston.

“She’s doing her best,” Marzen said of her daughter. “She’s really amazingly strong. For anybody this is a lot to handle, but for a 4-year-old it’s especially a lot to handle.”

It’s a barrage of life changes for a child who had never been sick, and who loves being a big sister to her 14-month-old brother, Benjamin.

“She didn’t even have so much as an ear infection,” Marzen said. “She just had a lazy eye; that was it. So for her to go from having no medications, to every medicine I can think of, has been incredible.”

Madeline’s resilience has inspired her mother.

“She woke up one morning and said, ‘don’t worry, mom, we’re going to show them all we’re champions,'” Marzen recalled. “And I was like, ‘OK, yeah we are; let’s do it.'”

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

A concert to benefit 4-year-old Bath resident Madeline Marzen, who has an aggressive brain tumor, will be held at the Chocolate Church Arts Center Sunday, Oct. 15.

Concert details

Band Together for Madeline takes place at the Chocolate Church Arts Center, 804 Washington St., from 2-4 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 15.

The concert’s musical genres will include rock, country, classical and folk, performed by Maine musicians such as Diamonds in the Rough, Expedition, Megan Bosarge, Shannon Tundel, Robert Lewis, Liz Lannon, Anne Marsh, Alane Downes and Wanda McNeil, Northern Lights, Sue Marley, Jerry and Bella Perron, and Marshall Marquis.

Tickets cost $15 and will be available at the door, with all proceeds benefiting the family of Madeline Marzen. Doors open at 1:30 p.m.

A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.