By Jody Woltman
Charlie Hawk has always been there for others. He is not one to ask for help. When he was diagnosed six weeks ago with metastasized lung cancer, family and friends were shocked and immediately planned a benefit for Charlie.
“It all started with Charlie’s driving,” wife Judy (Mefford) Hawk said. “His driving seemed a little ‘off’ to me. Our son (R.C. Taylor) said it was probably me being a back-seat driver, but he rode to St. Louis with Charlie and noticed his driving wasn’t right.”
Charlie, who retired from Central Laborers-Petersburg Plumbing and Heating in 1997 has mowed yards and worked maintenance since retirement.
“He was out mowing the yard, and said his legs felt funny. He rested and tried the next evening and went to bed afterwards,” said Judy. “The next morning, he couldn’t move his legs. I had to dress him and we went to Springfield to the hospital. I thought heat, maybe a tick or West Nile. The doctors thought maybe a stroke. Tests confirmed he had lesions on the brain, but told me that brain cancer is something that starts in the brain with children, but when it is in an adult, it has metastasized from somewhere else.”
Judy went on to say the primary cancer was in the lungs, but it has traveled to other organs. He was given ten radiation treatments to help him get back on his feet and has had one chemotherapy treatment with another scheduled for this week.
“He hasn’t had a lot of pain. The Good Lord must be with him. They can’t do anything for him. Treatments are to give him a little time,” said Judy.
Judy stated years ago, their Beardstown doctor was Dr. Gupta, who left to go back to school to study oncology.
“He is now Charlie’s oncologist and he remembered him.” said Judy.
Charlie, an avid Sprint car race enthusiast, has had well-wishes from all over the country. A race in Jacksonville helped raise funds for him. His favorite driver, Jerrod Hull from Jerrod Hull Motorsports has sent t-shirts and other items to sell at the benefit.
“Racing families have also stood by us. We had visitors from Kentucky yesterday (Sunday) and he just received gifts from Indiana,” Judy added.
“Charlie has also helped a lot of people. When he worked in maintenance at Welchwood Apartments, many immigrants, both Spanish and African, thought that if they moved, Charlie would move with them. An African family has even come to the house and prayed with us,” Judy stated.
A benefit for Charlie Hawk is planned for this Saturday, August 17 from 10 a.m.-10 p.m. at Schmoldt Park Shelter House at 100 Wall Street. There will be a pulled pork meal ($5), live and silent auction, three guns and a scooter to be raffled, live bands, a kiddie carnival and more. Proceeds will help offset medical expenses.
Charlie and Judy have been together for 41 years. Charlie has one son from a previous marriage (Mike), raised his stepson, R.C. Taylor (wife, Amanda Dugger) and the couple have one son, Chris Hawk, who resides with them at home.