BURLINGTON — The past few months have been a very difficult time, to say the least, for the Ramczyk family of Burlington.
Since March, the Ramczyks have faced a sudden job loss, a cancer diagnosis and a premature birth of a baby boy.
“It’s been completely crazy,” said Michael Ramczyk, the baby’s father. “It’s just been so hard to figure everything out.”
Family and friends are coming together to help the Ramczyks with a Stand With The Ram Fam fundraiser scheduled for 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday at Champs Sports Bar & Grill, 747 W. Main St., Lake Geneva.
The event, costing $10 a person, will include an all-you-can-eat pig roast buffet, along with a silent auction and raffle drawings with items donated by local businesses.
Erin Ramczyk, Michael’s wife, said she is grateful for the support the family has received during the difficult time.
“We’re happy that there’s been all these good people who have helped us get through,” she said. “There’s been a lot of people who have shown support.”
The family’s ordeal began in March when Michael was laid off from his job as a sports editor for Southern Lakes Newspapers, publisher of the community weekly newspapers in Burlington, Union Grove and Waterford.
Michael also is a former sports editor for the Lake Geneva Regional News, where he worked from 2008 to 2013.
“It is what it is,” he said of the recent job loss.
Three months after the layoff, Michael was diagnosed with colon cancer after receiving a colonoscopy. The June 19 diagnosis was shocking and devastating to the family.
He and his wife have a young daughter, in addition to the newborn son.
“As soon as the doctor walked out and I saw the look on his face,” Erin Ramczyk said. “I knew it was bad news.”
Baby arrives day after diagnosis
Michael Ramczyk went into surgery to have a cancerous tumor removed July 18 at a hospital in Milwaukee. The next day, Erin Ramczyk gave birth to their baby boy, Roman, who was one month premature.
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The baby was not breathing when he was born and had to be resuscitated. He was later transferred to neonatal intensive care at a hospital in West Allis, where he would remain for several weeks.
“I’m sure it had nothing to do with all the stress,” Erin said of the premature birth. “I say that sarcastically.”
After being treated to yet another hospital, Roman finally went home on Sept. 20. The baby is expected to make a full recovery.
Michael, meanwhile, began five months of chemotherapy treatments on Aug. 28.
The Ramczyks estimate that their out-of-pocket expenses have reached $20,000 during the past few months, including medical bills and travel costs.
Erin said she knows more medical bill and travel expenses will come during the next few months.
“Medical bills have been piling up,” she said. “Not everything has come in yet. The focus has been on surgery and taking care of our son.”
Tickets for the family’s benefit can be purchased at Champs Sports Bar & Grill or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Tickets also will be available at the door.
A GoFundMe page also has been set up for the family at www.gofundme.com/f/stand-with-the-ram-fam.
About $17,000 has been raised through the Go Fund Me page as of last week, with a goal of raising $30,000.
Despite the family’s difficulties, they are trying to remain positive.
“I’ve been telling Mike you have to look in the good of everything,” Erin said.
Jami Martzke, a cousin to Erin, said many people have called and asked about making donations to help the family.
“We’re a close-knit family,” Martzke said. “Everyone has worked together to help them get back on their feet.”