Chuck has always led a very active and healthy lifestyle. He’s completed marathons, trail and Spartan races, and he’s become a CrossFit competitor. He worked out at least five to seven hours each week and always ate very well.
So, when Chuck went in for his routine annual physical, he wasn’t too concerned. But after getting his blood test results back, he received the devastating and shocking news that he had cancer. He was diagnosed with mixed-phenotype leukemia, a very rare strain of leukemia which requires an aggressive treatment plan.
Since his diagnosis in December 2021, Chuck has been undergoing various forms of chemotherapy and making visits to Duke University Hospital. His treatment has had its twist and turns, but doctors told him that he is a strong candidate for a bone marrow transplant, and they are very hopeful they’ll find him a matching donor.
Chuck is grateful to have been in such peak physical shape when his diagnosis came. His doctors told him this was extremely beneficial to him and he may not be as fortunate if he hadn’t taken care of his body so well his whole life. Chuck realized that he had been training all these years not for the competitions and races, but for this exact battle.
How Chuck is dealing with his diagnosis
While Chuck admits he was overwhelmed for the first 24 hours, he purposefully did not allow himself to spend a lot of time bemoaning his diagnosis. He knows how harmful it can be to get stuck in the anger phase and instead has focused his energy on how he can serve others, how blessed he is and how big of a support system he has.
“I know it can be easy to get lost in a world of clouds. And, it’s okay to visit these emotions. But I don’t want to stay there,” Chuck said.
He soon created a Facebook fundraiser for Be The Match®, celebrating his birthday by giving back. He started with a goal of $1,000 and quickly raised nearly $6,000!
Chuck’s desire to spread light to others
Chuck has always made a point to prioritize compassion and kindness in his life. Whether at work, the gym or anywhere, he makes sure to smile and engage with everyone, and to remember personal details about others’ lives. And he’s now seeing just how big of a positive impact this has made on people.
Chuck said, “You don’t realize how much [your kindness] means to people until you find yourself in a bad spot and they reach out to tell you how special it was that you said ‘Welcome’ when they walked in or remembered their child’s name.”
Even during his hospital stays he has made friends with the maintenance woman, other patients on his floor and the hospital staff, creating meaningful connections with all of them. His spirit is infectious, and he has been called “a hospital favorite” by the nurses, receiving an outpouring of hugs whenever they see him.
Chuck explains how being able to help others is what gives him energy during these dark times. “I guess I could claim that my beacon was about helping others find their path, but the truth is that it’s how I light my own path too.”
What has played an important role to Chuck in this process
Chuck knows that he is not alone in his fight. He holds onto hope through maintaining a strong spiritual life and trusting in a god who is watching over him and guiding him. He has an abundance of prayer warriors who are supporting him each step of the way as well.
Chuck’s prayer is simple yet powerful. “God, you gave me this opportunity. Let me be strong so I can be strong for others.”
Do you want to help others too? Start your own fundraising page today!