Facing Forward

Charlie Ellis and testicular cancer

At 14-years-old Charlie Ellis has gone through more than most people.

When you first meet him he is a shy young man. He is quiet but not timid. You can tell that he is sure of himself, he just doesn’t want to be in the spotlight. I met with Charlie, his parents and reporter Holly Klaft at his house two nights before his surgery to remove lymph nodes. His folks were throwing him a party and lots of friends came. The day before surgery he wasn’t allowed to eat solid food so it was a last hurrah of sorts.

Two days later we were at University Hospital in Ann Arbor for his procedure. The family was allowed back with Charlie but the hospital and their PR people insisted that I stayed in the waiting room for space, and I’m sure other’s privacy, reasons. The Ellis’ are wonderful people and they were gracious enough to share their story with the community. They had just moved to Spring Arbor a couple years ago from Texas. Brent works for the university there and the Spring Arbor Free Methodist church has been a large help to them throughout this endeavor.

As the family waited a pastor from the church, Ward Sipes, left, came to see the family. They said a low prayer in the waiting room after Charlie was taken back to surgery.

The surgery lasted for seven hours and they removed 25-30 lymph nodes. After the procedure on July 27, doctors did not find any traces of cancer left. Charlie is one of the youngest patients that his surgeon, Dr. Alon Weizer, said he has seen.

Charlie was at C.S. Mott Children’s Hospital recuperating for nine days. When his final day came he was ready to go home. He is heavily involved with sports especially baseball and basketball. He sustained an injury to the groin during basketball practice which eventually led to the discovery of the cancer.

Those close to Charlie focused on the positive and ways to encourage him. His father Brent noted that Charlie’s optimism and clarity on what’s important in life have inspired him.

Charlie slowly enters the car in the parking garage at C.S. Mott Childre’s Hospital.

Charlie said he’s learned to stay positive, keep a positive attitude and stay focused on the positive things. With that you can still experience and enjoy the blessings of God in the midst of pain, he said.

Added at 5:50 pm on August 29, 2011, by . Filed under Feature, gallery, Jackson Citizen Patriot