LEWISBURG - Dr. Michael Baker always has put the needs of others above those of his own.
People who've long known him such as "Susquehanna Life" Publisher Erica Shames say it's gone beyond the help he's extended to the many patients who've come to him for relief from pain to their bodies.
There's the house calls the Lewisburg chiropractor has made to patients.
Dr. Michael Baker sits outside Beaver Stadium in State College as he prepares to attend a Penn State football game. Baker, a Lewisburg chiropractor, is a big Penn State fan and friends and loved ones are hoping he will be able to attend many more games in the years to come. He was recently diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer. However, his condition remains stable.
He's reached into his own pocket to pay for those can't afford to pay for a treatment.
And, he's always made sure all of his employees had health insurance, even though he went without coverage.
Despite all the apparent good he's brought to people, it didn't stop cancer from finding him.
It was a shock to those who've come to know this
healer and all-around good guy.
Not surprisingly, his diagnosis brought out the best in the community.
A fundraiser recently was held to help Baker with his medical bills with some 150 people turning out for it.
"It was beautiful," said his daughter, Brigette Baker. "To see that kind of love and support."
She loved hearing many of the positive, uplifting stories about her father.
Baker's medical condition remains stable.
"He has confusion," she said. "He's a little disoriented. He has short term memory loss."
For now, Brigette and the rest of her family are considering the best treatment options for her father.
Brigette and her sister, Sabrina Baker, have moved back to Lewisburg from Florida to be with him.
Baker, 59, a native of Lewisburg and graduate of Bucknell University and the Palmer Chiropractic School, was doing fine until recently.
It was during a visit their father made to Florida that Brigette began to see he wasn't quite himself.
"Mom called us before he came down to Florida," she said. "He had been repeating
himself. We thought he was stressed. When he came
down to visit us, it was dramatically different. He kept saying he was fuzzy. We didn't know what that meant."
At the time, she felt some recent upsetting events in his life may have been adversely affecting this otherwise upbeat man.
A random audit led to Baker being assessed $45,000 in back taxes. In addition, he had been fighting the loss of parking spaces at the rear of his Market Street office.
"Had he not been so stressed out, we probably would have noticed that things were so wrong," Brigette said. "That's what's really heart-breaking. Maybe we would have noticed."
After being diagnosed with inoperable brain cancer, many people were saddened.
"He's just a nice guy, easy-going," Shames said.
She said she came to know Baker through the years, both as a patient and socially.
Shames repeated what others say about Baker: He puts his needs above others.
She called him a community leader in a quiet sort of way.
And, she said, Baker is a good chiropractor too, who engaged in friendly banter with his patients and often acted as a sounding board for them.
Brigette said her father has always been a "selfless person" who was a role model to his family.
"We always did Meals on Wheels as a family," she said. "That's always been a big part of who he is and he instilled that in us."
Brigette said she and her sister are in Lewisburg indefinitely to be with their father.
She remains optimistic of the future.
After all, that's they way her father has always been.
"We are hopeful that he will come back to himself. We don't know when that will be," she said.