Chuck Witter always had a smile on his face. Even when he was faced with brain cancer, the Big Spring grad never let it get him down.
Witter's family and friends gathered at Trinity United Methodist Church in Walnut Bottom Saturday to honor his memory and support his wife, Nancy, and daughter, Kayla. The chicken BBQ fundraiser was planned several weeks ago while Witter was still fighting the disease that returned for a second time earlier this year. Sadly, Witter lost his courageous battle on Oct. 22, before the fundraiser could be held.
Though they were grieving his loss, his friends and family still came together to raise funds to support Nancy and Kayla, and the medical costs they have incurred in recent months. In addition to the BBQ dinners, Kayla's teammates on the Big Spring Volleyball Team hosted a bake sale at the event, and Witter's former coworkers from ABF Freight sold hot dogs. Donations are still coming in, and are estimated at over $4,000.
April Black and Cheryl Barrick, two of Witter's sisters, said they were just overwhelmed by all of the support they received from the community.
“The way the whole community came together to support Nancy and Kayla, and my sisters and I, it's just been overwhelming,” Black said, choking back tears. “I can't express the amount of gratitude we have for everybody.”
Witter is also survived by sister, Tammy S. Sweger of Carlisle, and 11 nieces and nephews, as well as many cousins and friends.
Barrick said the support was fantastic, not only from the community and area churches, but also the school district.
“The fundraiser was very well attended,” Barrick added.
Black said Witter was “a big ball of fun.”
“He was a jokester. He always had a smile on his face. He loved his wife and daughter very much; they were his entire life,” Black said.
“He was always involved with family picnics, holidays and sports,” Barrick said.
Black said when Witter was first diagnosed with brain cancer 3 ½ years ago, “he never said, 'Why did this happen to me?'”
“He dealt with it and he was determined to beat it,” she said. “He went three full years cancer free before it came back in May of this year.”
Black and Barrick said Witter even spoke to a panel of doctors and techs at Penn State Hershey Medical Center about his journey with brain cancer when he was diagnosed for the second time, and how he made it through.
His sisters noted that Witter “truly had his faith.”
“It saw him through some very trying times,” Black said.
Barrick said even as his health recently took a turn for the worse, Witter had accepted what was going to happen.
“He was more worried about how we were going to handle it,” Barrick said.
“He was making sure his three sisters were OK so we could be there for Nancy and Kayla, and help pick them up and help them through,” Black said.