In the weeks leading up to the Pink Arrow game on September 22, 2023, we will be sharing stories from Pink Arrow Pride. Today’s story comes from Charlie West.
Hi, my name is Charlie West, and my cancer story is about my mom, Linda’s cancer journey from nearly 20 years ago. Even after all these years, there are vivid memories that remain as fresh as yesterday, while others have faded with the passage of time.
Our family’s journey with cancer started during my junior year of high school, when my mom started feeling unwell and experienced significant weight loss. After many months of horrible sickness and many doctor’s visits, a cancerous tumor was discovered and removed from her stomach.
Following the diagnosis, my mom continued to fight the cancer, but it had spread aggressively and she lost her battle in January 2004. As a junior and senior in high school, I was naïve and did not fully grasp the situation and the impact it would ultimately have on my life.
Throughout my mom’s battle with cancer, she displayed remarkable resilience. She never once complained and did her best to shield my brothers and me from the brutal reality of her illness. While I continued with my typical high school life, balancing social activities and academics, everything changed when she passed away in January of my senior year. Fortunately, I had already laid a strong academic foundation by that point in my high school career. However, my focus wavered significantly, and I began pushing the boundaries of what could be considered typical high school mischief. I faced some significant challenges, but ultimately, I refocused, pulled it together, graduated from Denison University four years later, and started my journey with my future wife.
Fast forwarding almost two decades, I have a wonderful wife and two beautiful girls. It’s 2020, my work had moved us around quite a bit, and my wife and I decided we wanted to find where our kids would grow-up, calling home. That is when Lowell hit our family’s radar. I was fortunate to have the opportunity to interview for the General Manager’s position at Lowell Light and Power. The night before my interview, I stayed at the Main St. Inn, coincidentally, during the week leading up to the Pink Arrow football game. My introduction to Lowell was powerful, as Main Street was lined with Pink Arrow banners, leaving a lasting impression.
I ultimately accepted the position with LL&P and we are proud to be raising our family in the Lowell community. Reflecting on the past 20 years, while writing this story, has allowed me to appreciate how our family’s cancer journey has influenced my perspective on life, as my wife and I raise our family. Such a life-altering event cannot be neatly summarized; it has become an integral part of my personal narrative and how I perceive the world.
At the end of the day, I hope I have learned to appreciate life and be compassionate. My wife and I frequently pause to savor the various joys that life offers. As an outsider moving to Lowell, we take tremendous pride in the opportunity our family gets to support a great community event like Pink Arrow.