In November, during Lung Cancer Awareness Month, we announced LUNGevity’s Third Annual Lung Cancer Caregiver Contest. We were looking to honor a spectacular individual who has provided exceptional care to a lung cancer patient.
Nominations came in from all over the country, and if we could have, we would have awarded every caregiver a prize. Their stories of sacrifice and loving care moved us to tears. These caregivers are unsung heroes and rarely get recognized. It was our honor to recognize them and to award a prize to one exceptional caregiver that surpassed the criteria set before our judges: someone who advocated for their loved one’s medical needs, who is supportive and helpful with their loved one’s emotional needs, and someone who recognizes their own limitations and seeks support as needed in order to be the best caregiver possible.
“Big Charlie” as he is lovingly called by his family members was nominated by his daughter in law, Margo, for providing unwavering and exceptional care of his wife, Becky, who has lung cancer. Excerpts of Margo’s nomination are below.
“…he accompanies her to every doctor’s visit…he stays by her side at home after every treatment…he supports her unconditionally and without a doubt is in this fight too.”
“Big Charlie has never wavered in his role as partner in sickness and in health and I know will stand by her side for infinity doing anything in his power to make Becky comfortable, happy and keep that bright smile on her beautiful face…”
The prize is a one-week stay at Cricket House in the historic Gettysburg area of Pennsylvania, and includes round-trip airline tickets for two. The weeklong getaway is donated by the owner of Cricket House, Debi Gemmell. Gemmell had been a caregiver for her husband, Chris, who passed away from lung cancer.
When we notified Charles “Big Charlie” Keene that he had been nominated for being an exceptional caregiver and had won, the soft spoken county commissioner was speechless. He is humble and no doubt does not need recognition for something he does naturally.
His wife Becky, who’s living with lung cancer, calls Big Charlie her best friend of 38 years.
“I can thank him every day, but it means SO much when others recognize and thank him!”
If you are a lung cancer caregiver and you need support or information, please visit our online lung cancer Caregiver Resource Center.