Southport benefit planned for stricken ex-firefighter
Updated 7:09 am, Wednesday, May 11, 2011
The Southport Volunteer Fire Department will host a pancake breakfast Saturday to benefit the family of a former firefighter who has been stricken with a rare and life-threatening neurological disorder.
Proceeds will help support the family of Michael Molnar, whose family includes a wife and two pre-school sons, the department said. He is incapacitated and hospitalized with Guillian-Barre Syndrome, and his wife lost her job last month.
When he was an active firefighter in Southport, Molnar enlisted in the Coast Guard and was stationed in Elizabeth City, N.C., when diagnosed with the condition in March, according to Southport Fire Capt. Michael Romsky. The department still considers him a member in good standing.
Molnar is on a respirator and being fed through a nasal tube at a hospital in Norfolk, Va., about an hour from the home he shares with his wife, Heather, and the couple's two sons, ages 4 and 1.
The breakfast is scheduled from 8 to 11 a.m. in Eagle Hill School, 214 Main St., Southport. The menu includes pancakes, bacon, coffee, tea, milk and orange juice. Donations will go directly to benefit the Molnar family, Romsky said.
Molnar's condition has deteriorated quickly, Romsky said. Although mentally alert, he cannot speak, and his hands and feet are restrained because of the effects of the peripheral nervous-system illness.
Heather Molnar is determined to stay at her husband's side at the Lake Taylor Transitional Care Hospital and was terminated from her job as a result, Romsky said. She lost her job April 14 -- less than a month after Michael Molnar was diagnosed.
The cause of Guillain-Barre syndrome is unknown, but it can take hold suddenly and may lead to paralysis, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It is an auto-immune disorder in which the immune system attacks the peripheral nervous system.
Although there is no cure, according to the institute, certain therapies can assist recovery, which can take as long as three years.
Those who would like to donate but will not attend the breakfast may send checks payable to: Southport Fire Department, P.O. Box 454, Southport, CT 06890. Donors should be certain to note that the donation is for the Michael Molnar family, the department said.