Meet Charles. He's a typical 17-year-old who is dedicated to healthy living, working out and eating clean. He's the picture of health. Except, Charles has Metastatic Papillary Thyroid cancer, which has spread to his lymph nodes and lungs.
"Charles refuses to let cancer define who he is or what he can accomplish," says his mom, Melissa. "From the moment he was diagnosed in late 2015, through surgery and radioactive iodine treatments, he has remained positive and has never used cancer as an excuse to miss an opportunity or goal."
Charles' battle with cancer required multiple radioactive iodine treatments, an indigestible pill that increased in radioactivity over five days. During this incubation period, Charles must live in isolation in his room and his mom can only talk to him through his door. When the treatment is complete, his room and anything he's touched must be thoroughly cleaned in an effort to minimize radiation exposure to the rest of his home and family.
It would be easy to give up but Charles thinks differently. Cancer has been a challenge for him to become as healthy as possible and when Charles was introduced to the Moving Forward Program
through ASK Childhood Cancer Foundation,
his life changed forever.
"I've found a passion in fitness and nutrition and I have the Moving Forward Program to thank for starting me on the right path," shares Charles.
Melissa says the Moving Forward Program has transformed his mind and body. "From the moment we met with the nutritionist and Charles started working out with his personal trainer, Mike, he has committed to changing his life. He no longer eats sugar, junk food or soda and views going to the Y every day as a way to enhance his life," explains Melissa.
The Moving Forward Program is a one-of-its-kind partnership with the Greater Richmond YMCA where ASK kids are provided
personal training through the Y and
receive nutritional counseling, generously
funded by ASK.
Charles will live the rest of his life with cancer in his lungs, but doctors believe that he can live a long and productive life. He plans to go to medical school to be a pediatric otolaryngologist so he can be part of the healing for other kids. Charles also plans to stay involved in ASK's Childhood Cancer Advocacy Day lobbying at the Virginia State legislature.