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Bangor resident takes 'Leap of Faith' to help her brother

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BANGOR - Cindy Michaels, news anchor of ABC 7 and Fox Bangor is used to being in the public eye, but outside of work she admits she's a very private person. That all changed a few weeks ago when Michaels learned her brother, 58-year-old John Sovis, was diagnosed with bile duct cancer.

"It took me a week to stop crying because you're just driving and you think 'Oh my God, my brother is going to die.' I know it's clich to say but you don't think it's going to happen to you," said Michaels. "As I was calling different hospitals, I realized it [treatment] wasn't a cheap endeavor, and I said I've got to have a fundraiser."

So, Michaels sprung into action, sharing her brother's diagnosis with friends, co-workers, community members and Facebook users. However, rather than ask for money for Sovis' costly cancer treatments, Michaels booked well-known comedian Bob Marley to help her raise the necessary funds. His Bob Marley Leap of Faith benefit concert scheduled for Feb. 29 is open to the public and proceeds raised at that event along with an on-site silent auction will help Michaels' brother with his medical bills.

"My brother's first words were, 'People have their own problems and financial difficulties, I don't want to take from someone who is financially strapped,'" explained Michaels. "But I told him we're not taking money. We're asking for people's time and to come watch a good show. He finally came around when he saw so many people come forward wanting to help. He's now overwhelmed and humbled that people want to do this."

Sovis, who was an air traffic controller for 12 years at Bangor International Airport, was diagnosed with cancer back in January. Up until then, Michaels said he was a strong and active black belt in karate.

"They told him they could do chemo but he didn't want to. The cancer started in his bile duct and metastasized to his liver. The reason they can't operate is this is right in the center of his liver. Cutting it out would basically mean it would stop functioning," said Michaels.

That's why Sovis is seeking alternative treatment for his cancer in Houston, Texas. So far, Michaels has been fortunate enough to receive silent auction donations from Waterfront Concerts, State St. Wine Cellar, the University of Maine and Smart EyeCare. She said items are continuing to pour in.

"I will not accept money and my brother won't accept money. I thought by holding a benefit, people will be getting something out of it and in return all these businesses are getting their name out too, so everyone benefits in some way," explained Michaels.

The Bob Marley Leap of Faith benefit concert will take place Feb. 29 at 7:30 p.m. at the Bangor Civic Center. Tickets are $25 each and are available at www.ticketmaster.com or the Bangor Civic Center Box Office. Seating is limited to 500.

"We obviously won't raise the full amount needed for his alternative treatment, but it'll be a huge help," said Michaels.

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