March 18, 2013 | Vol. 94, No. 65

Family, community gather to support Tijan

KIMBALL, Wis. — A benefit dinner drew scores of supporters for Mike Tijan in his fight against multiple myeloma Saturday at the Kimball Community Center.

Tijan has been battling the disease for eight years, and is now facing a stem cell transplant. His brother Andy is a blood match.

Their sister, Teresa Vitovksy, said Mike has been undergoing chemotherapy and radiation treatments to decrease his cancer levels. She said that when Mike is well enough for the procedure, he and Andy will travel to the Mayo Clinic for the stem cell transplant.

The Tijan family has dealt with this type of hardship before. Their father Anthony was also diagnosed with multiple myeloma. Teresa said he was given only months to live, but instead made it nine more years.

She said their mother was killed in a car accident the following year.

Mike’s illness has been another rallying point for a group that has seen more than its share of life’s challenges.

“We’ve been very fortunate to be supported throughout the years by family and friends and this community,” Teresa said.

Saturday’s benefit was another outpouring of support. It included the dinner, a raffle, a silent auction and a performance by the band R3WYND. Teresa said more than 100 private and business donors from across the area contributed.

“It’s very humbling to see how people in this area give and give and give,” Teresa said. “They have no hesitation whatsoever.”

“We can’t say enough about the community,” said Phil Tijan, another of Mike’s siblings.

Teresa said the funds raised will help to defray medical costs for Mike, who was still working at his job as a machinist until October of last year.

“It’s like Mike said,” said Teresa. “There’s no pity party in this family. We’re going to keep fighting.”

For more information, contact Deb Tijan at 715-360-0644 or Melinda Tijan at 715-561-2122. Monetary donations can be made to the Michael Tijan Medical Benefit Fund, care of Associated Bank in Hurley.