Many who routinely read my Wholehearted Living blog, probably don’t know the handsome young man in this photograph. However, I’ve been fortunate enough to have known him, if only from a distance.
My husband and I have been blessed to be friends with his parents, Chuck and Diane, for over 30 years. During that time, they raised four incredible young men: John, Scott, Peter and Charlie.
Because our kids were different ages and went to different schools, we didn’t know their boys very well. However, their youngest son, Charlie, impacted my life in ways I couldn’t have imagined.
In 2012 Charlie was finishing his last year of college at Iowa State University, where he subsequently received his Bachelor’s degree in Architecture. During that spring semester, Charlie was diagnosed with not one, but two types of Non-Hodgkins lymphoma.
Over the next three years, Charlie was in and out of numerous hospitals; too many doctors, surgeries, tests, appointments and heartaches to mention. However, what continually amazed me was Charlie’s unrivaled optimism and joy – no matter WHAT he was enduring.
It wasn’t that Charlie just faced an occasional setback; he faced monumental, devastating setbacks – over and over and over again. Yet despite the tragic circumstances he faced, the light of his effervescent personality never dimmed.
On the bulletin board above Charlie’s hospital bed, they kept a sign that read: “When you choose hope anything is possible.” And that’s exactly what Charlie did every day of his life.
On March 10th of 2016 Charlie passed away. Days later my husband and I attended the ceremony to celebrate Charlie’s life. As we were hearing about the tremendous impact Charlie had on his family, friends and so many others, I had a crystal-clear vision. In it, I saw Heaven welcoming Charlie home with the same overwhelming joy of a maternity ward who welcomes a new baby.
I believe that somewhere deep inside us we all hope for the same; we want to have made a meaningful impact on those we leave behind, and, to receive a warm welcome to Heaven.
Whether dealing with current health issues or just the challenges of everyday life, I often reflect on Charlie’s approach to life and his commitment to choose hope.
God’s Word says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” (Romans 15:13)
Regardless of your current challenges, may you come to know the hope of God’s only Son. Then your hope can overflow and impact others, like Charlie’s did.
– Alicia Economos
A new program was established at John Stoddard Cancer Center (in honor of Charlie) that seeks to empower cancer patients and caregivers to maintain a high quality of life and provide the tools to live each day fully. It’s named the Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Program.
The program recognizes that a cancer journey involves more than just traditional medical treatments. Cancer is a mind, body, spirit experience. Integrative therapies offered by this new program, such as massage therapy, aromatherapy, guided imagery, acupuncture, meditation, yoga etc are proven to strengthen patients and help both patients and caregivers live each day to its fullest potential.
To donate in support of the Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Endowment
Step 2: Select “John Stoddard Cancer Center” in the Designation drop down tab
Step 3: Select “Charlie Cutler Healing and Wellness Endowment” in the Sub Designation drop down tab
Step 4: Make a gift that will provide support, hope and strength for cancer patients and their caregivers, so they too can live each day to its fullest potential.